Lake Series: February 25, 2017

After such a good day yesterday, things kind of went downhill that evening.  It was a family night, so we opted to try a “new-ish” restaurant in town.  It was small and busy, but the food was really good.  However, About 2/3 of the way through the meal, the room started spinning.  I got through the rest of the meal, but by the time we got home, I was holding onto m husband like I was drunk (despite not having a drop of alcohol) as we walked to the door.  I was so frustrated that my stupid medical conditions were kicking in.

This morning I still had a headache and was battling nausea, but at least the room wasn’t swirling.  I resigned myself to it being a “stay in bed” day.  I did spend the majority of my day in bed too, but later this afternoon as I listed to the wind rattle the windows, a thought hit me.  My girl has not experienced a stormy lake yet!  I took my anti-nausea med, filled my water bottle and told my daughter to dress warm.  We headed out to MRP.  The lake was in chaos and it was absolutely beautiful.  We headed out onto the long pier and took in the magnificent waves.  Some waves crashed so high and hard on the rocky pier, that the spray shot up and thoroughly showered us.  Within a few minutes we were soaked to the bone and oh so cold.  It was truly invigorating.  We laughed as we hurried back to the car, with out hair and clothes dripping.  I know my health will pay for this, but it was completely worth it!

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Lake Series: February 24, 2017

It’s still early in the morning, but I didn’t sleep very much.  My husband left the Bible and quiet time booklet open for me at my spot at the table.  I know he’s concerned, but things will get back to normal on their own.  I absolutely do not want to read the Bible right now.  For his sake, I may give it a cursory glance.  But for now, I am content sipping my “virgin gin and juice” while planning out my day.  I’m debating between LV beach and MR beach.  Both are closer to home.  I do have a hankering for Starbucks and I could hit one on the way to LV if I went that way.

Later in the day at MR beach . . .

I love this lake!  The wind is blowing much harder today, so the water is a bit choppy causing the waves to crash and spray white against the rocks.  The sky is clear, so I can see far across the lake to the horizon.  Being here like this and looking out over that vast expanse of water gives me the same feeling as looking to the sky on a cloudless starry night.  I feel so small, so minute, so in awe.  Maybe for those that live by the ocean, they are accustomed to this.  I haven’t seen the ocean (besides flying over) since I was a very young girl.

I shiver as the wind dances and whirls chilly around me.  I had to pull my hair up just so I can see.  The pages beneath my pen strain and push to be let free in the breeze.  I just breath deep, thankful for the solitude out at the end of this long pier.  This moment is perfect.

As I stand at the very edge of the pier, held back only by the metal railing and the sea below, the wind kicks into a flurry.  I feel I have no choice but to let my hair run free as I untwist it from it’s place.  The wind blows so strong I feel like it is begging me to step into it so I can rise and fly on it’s strength.  This is my drug.  This fills my heart with joy and my mind with peace.  All the darkness that has been so heavy on me is blown away by chaotic gusts and crashes with the waves on the rocky shore.  For this moment, nothing else matters.  As the wind continues it’s dance, I begin seeing slight ribbons of white as the waves crash into themselves.  There are only a handful of seagulls left that stubbornly try to push back against the wind.

I reluctantly move off the pier and head to the rocky shore.  The waves pick up their enthusiasm and as they crash onto the rocks, their spray showers me with kisses.  I can’t help but let a gentle laugh escape my lips.  I sit on a very wet, sand-covered rock as I watch the waves play.  Suddenly, a burst of waves come rushing in and cover my shoes.  My feet are instantly soaked and another laugh bubbles out.

As I watch the waves crash, my eyes are drawn to a hollow in the rocks.  There are stones held in this crater.   Typically, they would be kept protected from the hard falling waves.  But today as the wind pushes and commands the waves to thrash against the shore, these stones are caught in the midst of the crash.  With each wave they are pushed up and pulled back, but unable to escape their rocky walls.  The stones endure the tedious and unrelenting battering.  It seems almost cruel.  They are stuck, without hope of escape or relief.  However, with all they have endured, they have become smooth and round, almost looking soft to the touch.  Nothing but the harshness of the waves could accomplish this.  The symbolism is not lost on me.

The wind and the waves seem to be toying with me as I try to write.  Everything will settle just long enough to write out a sentence, but in the midst of my thought, the wind forces the waves to thrash violently against the rocks, covering the page in spray, threatening to wash away the inked words.  I try to snap shut the leather journal in time, but more often than not, I fail.  I think my lake is telling me to put down the pen, and just take in the beauty before me.

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Lake Series: February 23, 2017

Today I went east.  I wasn’t nearly as fun of a drive, but I’m at a beach that is new to me, so it’s perfect.  It’s actually a well-known beach (thus the reason I’ve never been here), but it is almost empty today.  It’s nice and warm and the sun is shining down.  There is a nice breeze which is coaxing gentle little waves ashore.  There is nothing in the world like that sound.

I work up feeling a little better today.  I’m not sure why, but I’ll take it.  I washed my hair (it’s been over a week) and I opted for my red lace-up sneakers instead of my gray slip-ons.  I pulled my freshly washed alumni t-shirt on (one of my favorites) and slipped my light gray NorthFace jacket on over it.  I actually ate a little breakfast today, too.  I washed it down with my mix of OJ and Sprite, wishing I was burning my throat with hard liquor instead.  I wanted to leave earlier today, but I was still too tired, despite getting good rest last night.  I slept for a couple hours before heading out, leaving another little post-it for my husband.

On the drive here the volume was up as I listened to a rather eclectic mix of music.  I loved pressing my foot to the floor right as the bass kicked in and vibrated the whole car.  I also loved the deep, soulful voices caressing the wind as they sang of love.  Even the guttural voices that screamed of anguish and desire were somehow enjoyable.  But that was then, and this is now.

I spy a tiny piece of beach glass and tuck it into my pocket.  I pull my long, curly, air-dried hair up into a loose pony.  I think I’ll wander this beach some before I resume my writing.

I have wandered farther than I anticipated.  I keep an eye out for more beach glass as my sneakers push through the sand.  I come across a variety of people as I walk: a set of lovers reclining on a break wall laughing and talking; three different single women, each lost in the view of the water and her own thoughts; and then three young men lying on their backs on the sand talking and looking toward the sky.

As I round a bend, I see that the beach continues even further.  The lake is showing off it’s ribbons of color today.  Deep blues showcase the depths of this lake, while the pale greens and blues highlight the shallow areas and the peeks of sunlight reflecting off the water’s surface.  A lone, bare tree stands at the base of a breakwall.  A trio of Canadian geese squawk overhead.  I love the lake like this.  To the west there is less city, but you can only see across the lake as far as the islands.  But here, the sea is vast with no islands in sight, just blue melting into blue where water meets sky.  The sun shines down warm and bright, so I remove my jacket, tying it around my waist.  Out of the corner of my eye,  I see strands of blue and green as my hair dances in the wind. A smile tugs at my lips as I realize those strands are the same color as the beach glass gems I have tucked in my jeans pocket.

I have wandered well past the beach to the rocky shoreline.  Beach glass is more plentiful the farther away I get from civilization.  I go as far as the shore will allow, but eventually I turn back knowing that time is beginning to press.  I begin to meander back to my car, promising myself that I will return in the future.  I am quietly pleased to see that I have outlasted the others that were initially on the beach.

The drive back was great.  Usually I’m not a fan of driving through the “uppity” cities (where I can get nasty looks for driving a Honda instead of a Lexus or Porsche), but it didn’t matter today.  When I got in the car I heard Axl’s voice come through the speakers as he sang about his version of a paradise city.  I’ll take my blue lake and warm sand over any other paradise.  So I cruised through their little snobby city with both front windows down, my hair swirling wildly around me, singing along to Journey.  I must have looked crazy next to their compact sports cars in my big red AWD SUV.  Didn’t matter.  I loved it.  By the time I got to the highway, I had switched stations again and I was dancing to the bass as I pressed the gas pedal to the floor.  Even now, with the music silenced as I sit in the parking lot of m daughter’s very conservative private school (she’s there on a scholarship), a smile still tugs at the corners of my lips.  This is nice.  I hope it continues.

Later that night . . .

Today was actually a good day.  I ate dinner with my family and we laughed together.  I laughed!  When we went to bed, my husband and I talked a bit about our days.  I realized that I have been keeping him completely shut out.  He hasn’t even known where I have gone each day besides east or west and “I’ll probably end up at the lake.”  He has never questioned or pushed.  How is he so good to me?  He mentioned tonight that our senior pastor wants me to call him soon.  When he said that, my mood immediately soured, which surprised me.  I really love our pastor.  Heck, his wife is one of my dearest friends!  Yet, the thought of his wanting to talk to me, of him taking on role of pastor, not just friend, definitely dampened my mood.  What am I supposed to say to him?  That over the past couple of months I have started spiraling?  That during that time I have received more comfort from an actor (Jared Padalecki) I have never met, than from the church?  That on the darkest days it has been not a verse, but Jared’s mantra of “always keep fighting” that has kept me going?  I don’t know that he wants to hear any of that.  I don’t want to be the one to tell him any of that.  I don’t really want to tell him that going to church (at least our church) fills me with dread.  I don’t want to vocalize how I feel somewhat abandoned and dismissed by our church, while I know that they have tried to do right by us.  Pastor is a good man and he carries far too great of a burden on his shoulders.  I don’t want to add to that anymore than I have already.  So what do I tell him?  That right now I’m perfectly content without church, without the Bible, without prayer?  That I know I’ll get back to it someday, but it’s not today?  I can’t see myself saying those things out loud to anyone, much less to my pastor.  So I guess I will find excuses why we can’t talk.  I’ll press on doing what I’m doing and hopefully he lets this slide.

P.S.  I don’t necessarily feel like I should feel guilty for finding comfort in Jared Padalecki’s words.  Depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety are things the church seems to view as weaknesses.  They are things that “good Christians” don’t deal with, nevermind the obvious science behind the chemical imbalances in the brain.  When I stumbled across Jared’s words (and charity), it clicked.  Here was someone voicing the very thing I was desperately battling and trying to understand.  He all of a sudden made it okay to acknowledge that I was not well and needed help.  It wasn’t weakness or selfishness or something I just made up in my head.  It was real and it was okay to admit that and face it.  The mantra of “always keep fighting” spoke to me at my darkest.  When I couldn’t fathom what the next month or week would bring, I was reminded that I just had to get through this day.  Just today.  That was all I could handle and that’s what I had to cling to.  It is kind of a shortened version of the verses that talk about not worrying about tomorrow, but those verses are usually taught in the context of worry being a sin, so good Christian girls shouldn’t deal with such things. AKF reached me where I was and I think it will continue to push me through.  For that, I cannot and will not feel guilty.

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Lake Series February 22, 2017

I’m not even sure where I am right now.  I’m sitting on a dock somewhere about an hour west of my house.  The seagulls are so loud today!  The lake is fairly calm, but almost hazel in color.  Two seagulls are nearby bobbing on the water nibbling on a decent-size fish.  A shiver runs through me as the breeze turns chilly.

I slept last night, deep and long.  Meds helped with that process, but I slept for 11 straight hours.  Still, after getting home from taking my daughter to school, I found myself drifting off.  When I awoke, I was longing for the road.  I wrote a quick note on a post-it for my husband.  I told him I was going for a drive and that I’d most likely end up at the lake.  I told him I loved him.  I thanked him and I apologized for falling apart.  As I was gathering my things to go out the door, I heard him pulling up the drive.  I was really hoping to get out of the house before he came home for lunch.  He was a little earlier than usual.  As he started walking to the house, I stepped out the back door.  His shoulders fell as he could tell I was leaving.  I hugged him and kissed him, but avoided his eyes.  They were so filled with hurt and concern.  I hate hurting him.  He deserves so much better.  I mumbled something about going for a drive and climbed in the car.  I started heading north, but once I got to the highway, I knew I had to go west.  My window was down and the volume on the radio was maxed out.  As my foot pressed down toward the floor, my speedometer flirted with the triple digits.  My hair was being pulled out the window and I could see the brunette, blue, and green strands dancing and tangling.  There was something so freeing in that moment.

So now I sit on cold concrete, feet stretched out ahead of me as I write.  The wind is picking up even more now, and I know I will have to leave soon to get my girl.  I don’t mind the thought though as I look forward to getting on the highway again.

I am still filled with disgust at myself and the darkness in my mind is only growing darker.  But for this moment, here with the wind and water and birds, I am somewhat at peace.  I think I’ll do this again tomorrow.  Maybe start earlier and drive farther, though.  My hair is twisting around so much I can hardly see the page on which I write.  The wind picks up even more and the buoys dance among the small waves.  Till tomorrow (which feels good to say).

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Lake Series February 21, 2017

**Trigger warning – suicidal thoughts**

The depression is getting worse.  Sunday I forced myself to go to church.  I hated it.  I made polite conversation to the few people I couldn’t altogether avoid.  I sat through the service not listening to much of anything being said.  I had resentment and bitterness swirling in me the moment our associate pastor got up to speak.  I didn’t even try to hide it on my face.

Then Monday a passing thought travelled through me.  My mom is retiring after this year.  This summer she will be done teaching, with a lot more free time. So, if I wasn’t around (at all), she could potentially pick up the slack with my daughter.  That thought was very freeing to me.

Now it’s early Tuesday morning and I’m wide awake.  I was sleeping deeply, but then the dreams started.  The horrifically graphic, violent dreams that literally leave me paralyzed upon waking started.  The dreams I have ONLY when depression is deepening in my soul.  Then there’s the quick thought of how I could try to justify my suicide in a letter to each of my children.  I realize I can’t do it quite yet, as I know they’re not quite strong enough yet.  Yet.

I’m not sure what to do with all of this.  Do I call my doctor?  Do I try to get myself admitted?  Do I just push it aside and hope it fades?

Later that same day . . .

It’s spiraling.  I know how I would do it.  With my medical conditions it could be easily done without anyone knowing I did it to myself.  I did call my doctor to try to get an appointment.  I began to panic and I almost hung up, until the scheduler said that they were booked till next Monday.  I figured it would be suspicious if I didn’t take the appointment, but I plan on calling later and cancelling.

It is unseasonably warm and I am sitting outside in jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt.  The chickens are scuttling around, loving the weather.  The rabbits are so content in the cool breeze.  The cats sleep blissfully.  I see the beginnings of tulips, daffodils, and other flowers already peeking through the soil.  I should be content, relaxed, and happy.  I am strangely (and suspiciously) at peace despite the darkness in my mind.  A smile tugs at my lips as Matilda wanders up to me squawking her request for some treats.  Fluffy Butt and Nugget keenly observe to see if Matilda is rewarded for her efforts.  I smell smoke wafting gently through the air as it becomes obvious a neighbor is taking advantage of the weather by clearing and burning brush.  I long to just sit in the stillness, but the clock won’t allow that.  I check my phone to see my time is definitely up and I see the words on my lockscreen, “Always Keep Fighting.”  I sigh deeply and concur that for today, I will.  I don’t know what tomorrow or the next week will bring, but for today, I will trudge on.  I promise myself one more sunrise.

The picture on my lockscreen that has been pulling me through:img_9515

 

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Lake Series February 17th

The water is calm and peaceful, barely making ripples climb to the shore.  The flat sea melts into the horizon in varying shades of blue.  I scatter the seagulls from their perch at the end of the break wall and sit in their place.  The water gently laps at the bottom of my sneakers.  The air is cool, but not cold; it is perfect for deep breaths.  The rippling water criss-crosses across the lower stones of the wall.  The shore is completely empty on this early Friday afternoon.  I am alone and surprisingly at peace.  This is my drug.  Ice still clings to the rocky shore reminding me that while it is unseasonably warm, it is still winter.

This is my sanctuary.  Ever since I was a girl, this lake has been my anchor.  When I am beaten down and weary of life’s battles, this place settles my soul and for a moment, holds me still.  This is the best time of year to come.  When the beach is empty and the playground is silent; without a soul in sight.  This is when my lake is at it’s most beautiful.  I don’t pray; I don’t speak; I don’t move.  I watch a feather dancing on the light waves.  I sit in silent stillness, wishing I could stay.  The clouds lift and I can see the lighthouse many miles away jutting out into the sea.  The cool wind picks up some and nips at my nose and fingers.  The waves creep higher, licking the bottom of my jeans.  Off in the distance I hear muffled voices and I realize I am no longer alone.  I am too calm to care and I allow the sound of the lapping water to drown them out.  My tookas grows numb from sitting on the cold rock for almost an hour.  Everything in my heart still wants to stay.  To listen to the waves and the cries of the seagulls.  To feel the chill in the air and the sun on my back.  I know I need to leave soon.  I breathe deeply and promise a few more moments of blissful peace.

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Lake Series Beginning

I have not blogged in quite a long time.  I have been walking through some of my darkest days within my own mind.  Thankfully, I have a great therapist that gently pushed me to indulge in some self-care.  In doing so, I started writing again.  Not typing on a laptop screen, but with pen and paper in a leather bound journal that had long sat empty.  In writing, I began to face the dark thoughts within me.  I found myself pulled to my place of sanctuary, my lake.  I have been very blessed to live just minutes from one of the Great Lakes.  Ever since I was a child, the water called to me, soothed me, and lifted me.  As I wrote with the water lapping at my feet, I found momentary peace.  I began to cling to those brief moments with all that was within me.  I also took pictures to try to captivate those sweet times.

Now, as I am beginning to slowly, shakily rise out of the darkness, I have decided to transcribe those handwritten words to the screen.  I will try to add the entries one by one on a somewhat regular basis.

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