Depression Lies Vol. 3

Or. Depression Lies: The postpartum edition.

WARNING: This is incoherent. I COULD go back and change things, but I’m not going to. This is for me anyway. You just get to choose to read my rambles, or not. #sorrynotsorry

Ugh.

I thought it wouldn’t happen this time. I thought I could avoid this. Things were going so well, this time. I was seeing the sunlight, I was basking in joy, I was celebrating that things were different this time.

Things really were different.

They still are. This won’t last forever and I know what it is, so I know that I need to start trying to ignore the whispers and see reality.

But still. It fucking sucks. It fucking sucks more when Depression comes after Baby. It mars the beautiful, innocent, wonderful delight of a magnificent new person and their small, squidgy cuddles.

Here are the lies this time:

  • I can’t do this.
  • I shouldn’t do this.
  • I don’t want to do this.

Here is the biggest, most painful lie:

  • I’m only special when I’m in labour. My only power is in birth.

Okay, this lie deserves more writing, because it’s really bothering me. See, for me, birth is transformative. My first birth, and the circumstances around it, opened me up to find a strength within myself I couldn’t possibly have known existed. It helped me to find passion, to dig deeper in myself and my relationships, and it helped me to understand that I am important. My second (very recent) birth was amazing. It was the healing birth I never knew I needed and it has furthered my transition

I know that, and I know that it’s all just cobblestones on the same Kim path. All the same, I feel like I peaked. I feel like I left myself in labour and delivery. I was able to arrive there as Kim, the lioness, full of power and strength and fortitude. I rocked that baby out. I surrendered to my body and together, my body and I owned that story. I was really and truly me in those moments. And I was special. I radiated awesome.

My fear, before birthing this time around, wasn’t that I was going to be a mother of two – though that did, and still does, intimidate me. My fear was that I was going to lose myself. That I was going to become a wife and a mother and let that consume me. My fear is that I’m going to allow my Self to slip away (again). Or, that I’m going to push her away, not only because I feel I should (martyr), but because I want to (because it’s easier to bitch and whine than to work and pwn).

So, after this birth ended, when we were tucked at home, I became a mom again. This is a beautiful thing, I am truly blessed with an amazing, supportive husband and two beautiful, brilliant, healthy boys. I know this and I am thankful. I’m still at odds, though.

I want that feeling back. I want that ownership of my Self back, the feeling that I am me and that I am enough and that I am a fucking phenom. Writing this is helping, because I have been so dry in terms of writing for so long. Having new, better ideas for the fleshing of a story is helping, because I think that it will be therapeutic to write.  Walking with the Littlest and the Hellhound is also helping, because sunshine and sweat and fresh air and productivity.

(Fucking labyrinth of birth, anyway. …she writes with a grin, because it’s true and important. I’m going to digress for a second, settle in. Maybe it’s mourning? Maybe I know that The Kim that came before, like the maiden Kim before her, is dead. She’s gone and she’s not coming back. Maybe it’s that I’m new and I don’t know what that looks like yet. Maybe I’m only realizing as I write this that I have a hand in defining her, that I get to write my own story.)

And hey, as a bonus, here is the worry that sits as a sub-heading under the last lie:

  • What if I’m only interested in doulaing because I’m trying to hold on to pregnancy and birth? That my interest isn’t real and I’m not truly driven to serve women. I just want to hold on to what I think is my only real place in life. I don’t want that to be my reason. I want the passion to help women find their strength and voice to be my motivation.

A caveat to those out there who worry and love me and want to talk: don’t. I can’t talk about it right now. I can write, but I can’t talk. I won’t. I know too many buzz words and I know how to make myself sound absolutely okay. I will do that. I want you not to worry more than I want to be truly okay. Don’t make me lie. (I am okay. I’m not at my peak, but I know what’s going on and I’m doing what I can do to deal with it. I know these are lies and I’m trying to write truths over top of them. …I also know that there is a huge amount of hormonal re-organization at play here.)

And, as I edit and add to this, I’m actually more okay. Writing really helps me, so does remembering what I learned in a recent (for doula certification) prenatal class. That labyrinth of birth, and the story of Inanna and her descent into the Underworld.

Bif Naked – I Love Myself Today

UNT.

More fun (if you’re curious and haven’t read the other installments):

Depression Lies
Depression Lies Vol. 2

 

Advice to Past Me

94X Q

My favourite local radio station (#rockradiorules) asked a question this week. It got me to thinking. Because it was inspired by the high school (and post secondary, conceivably) graduations of 2016, it got me to thinking about my own high school (and post secondary, actually) graduation and who I was. The answer came easily.

If you could give “past you” one piece of advice, what would it be?

You are enough.

I’ve never thought very much of myself. Have we discussed this? Probably, I’m not really shy about it.

At any rate….

You are enough. Those are the words I would whisper in my own ear.

See, I like to live for other people. I like to make other people happy. I like to think about life and decide what would impress other people, what would gain me the acceptance of other people. Other people. Other people. Other mother fucking people. It’s bullshit, folks. Utter and complete bullshit.

You do you, honey.

I don’t know what life would have looked like for me if I had disregarded the bullshit of other people and marched to the beat of my own drum, but it would be different. I don’t know why I listened to and believed whole-heartedly in “you are ordinary, just like everyone else. Don’t shoot too high, you’ll just fall,” but I did.

If you’re listening to that bullshit, stop. You’re not ordinary, just like everyone else. You’re you. You’re the one and only ever you. Shoot high. So you might fall, it is what it is, but you ought to shoot for what you want. (imo.) If you fall, you learn. When you fall, you tend not to step in the exact same places again. Next time you walk that path, you have a better idea of how to get where you’re going while staying on your feet. That, or you find a new path, one you may not have seen before (had it not been for the fall). At the end of the day, you’ll honour you and you’ll honour your life. That’s worth a lot.

Foreigner – Cold As Ice

UNT.

Survey Says: 7 life questions to answer [whenever you want to]

This article – 7 Life Questions to Answer Before You Turn 30 – passed over my social media desk this week. I thought it was a fun, useful read. I also thought it was a good excuse to answer some questions (that can be answered whenever you want, not just when you’re on the cusp of 30). Because I love to answer questions and explore things.

[Qs]

  1. If I were to die tomorrow, would I feel satisfied with my life?

Yes and no.

My family and friend Self is incredibly fulfilled. My husband and son are amazing, I have so much love, support, and fun from and with them. My friends (my tribe) are amazing. It’s the very same, there’s just so much love, support and fun in those relationships. I’ve learned what real love is, what real support and encouragement looks like, and who I truly want to spend my life with.

My personal Kim-centric life is lacking. I am awful at self-care and I sacrifice myself and my wants (and needs) altogether too often. I put things aside for A Different Day and look longingly on that “different day.” It never comes, because I don’t make it come. Different days aren’t real until you make them real.

My professional life is severely lacking. I have a great job in an amazing institution. I am super thankful for it and I appreciate it and the opportunities that come with it, daily. I do, however, worry that I will always be “stuck” in the Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm world, doing things for other people. Not helping the way I want to help and not impacting the way I want to impact.

So, yes and no.

  1. What is my unique value proposition?

I care. Does that count? I care about people and I want to get to their core. I want to understand why they think the way they think and act the way they act and speak the way they speak so that I can help them (if/when they need help). I have experience with shitty people and shitty situations and the most important thing it’s taught me is that everyone has a story. It’s that whole book and cover thing, you have to read the text. Sometimes there’s astounding beauty beneath the haggard and sometimes what lies beneath surface beauty is vile.

  1. Who inspires me most?

AC. She is amazing. She is a gifted teacher, a supportive friend, an enthusiastic encourager, and she loves with every fiber of her being. She lives her life the way she chooses, following her heart and her passion. She has an outstanding support system who is unconditional in their love for and encouragement of her. Seeing her with her family, listening to her speak about them, sharing stories of experience and life, and just watching her interact with the world is inspiring. She makes me want to be a better person, to be a more caring person, to live life less judgmentally, to find stories, to share stories, and to hug often. She is my friend, my sister, my mentor, my heart. (And now I’m crying. Moving right along…. )

  1. Why do I get up in the morning?

To hear a chipper “hi momma!” and have a toddler cuddle. Because in those moments, the world dissolves and I understand what’s important. I truly do, because here’s a thing about toddlers (and babies): they demand the world. Everything is about them. When they want a hug, you damn well better give them a hug…or else…. I’ve learned a lot about life and how to see the world from my son, but what I’m learning now is the importance of self-care. If now is the time to drop the book and play with the Bruder skid steer, then now’s the damn time. If now’s the time to write, then the dishes/laundry/vacuuming/whatever can wait, because now’s the damn time. I get up in the morning for more lessons for my life, from my life.

  1. How much did I learn today?

A lot. I find, especially in the last two and a half years, that I learn a lot in my day-to-day. Not a day goes by where there isn’t some valuable experience, or learning opportunity.

  1. Who do I love, and have I told or showed them lately?

I’ve mentioned my people, I love them. I do tend to tell people that I love them, because I love to tell people I love that I love them. But I like to show them, too. I like to bake for them. I like to buy coffee for them. I like to show up unannounced, not to be a pest or take up their time, but to leave a bag of cookies on their doorstep first thing in the morning. I like to buy a magazine or sour candies (kryptonite) for my husband when I grocery shop. I like to take those forty minutes of time between arriving at home and going in the door of our house because my son loves to scoot along the cul-de-sac on his little “bike.” I like to (try) not rush through life from one “should” to the next.

  1. What is my definition of success?

Fulfillment. I know I won’t love every day when I find my spot in the world, because that’s unreasonable. Bad days happen and Depression is my albatross from time to time. Some days suck and that’s okay (because there’s coffee in fox mugs for those days). But my definition of success is not having that itchy, crawl-out-of-my-skin feeling. Being able, allowed, and encouraged (by myself) to evolve. Success is making the opportunity to explore my passions and discover my life. Success is passing the value of my life and well-being (physically, mentally and spiritually) to my family. Success is seeing my sons grow into their own beautiful people not because I told them to be themselves, but because I showed them to.

What does this mean? That I’m on the right track, I think. At least in the theoretical. I’m learning what’s important and I’m learning that ignoring that for “The Norm” is useless. I don’t want to be that “when I’m retired” person. I don’t want to save up my dreams and goals and aspirations for A Different Day. I’d really like to learn how to make Today that Different Day and take time for the things that are important. Dust bunnies and grass stained knees be damned.

Have you answered these questions? Will you answer these questions? If you do, I want to read your answers.

Amanda Palmer – The Killing Type

UNT.

Success

Your success isn’t my success. The system you use to measure your life’s worth is not the one I use. Your experiences aren’t my experiences. Your life is not my life.

I was having a(n email) conversation last week in which a pretty awful event was described to me. The short of it is that a person’s life and worth was called into question based on a system of values that this person simply does not subscribe to.

I can see both sides of the coin here. (Seeing is not agreeing, let’s keep that in mind.) What I struggle with is not the wisdom and fairness of questioning someone’s value (which is a huge “nooooooooooooooope!” in my books to begin with and truly deserves no discussion time), but ascribing your system of weight to them. They are not you. They do not live the way you live. They do not believe as you believe.

I’ve lived in a world where the esteem of higher education, high financial gain, highfalutin jobs, and a house filled with KitchenAid and Bosch are pillars of success. I think those things are awesome (and I do have KitchenAid things. Plural. More than one), you go make yourself happy. But that’s not how I measure my life.

I live a successful life. I believe this because:

  • I have a marriage I don’t foresee ending. Tragedy can strike at any time, and that would be devastating, but beyond that, at our current speed, my husband and I are doing really well. We communicate well, we respect each other, we discuss all the things, we laugh, we get angry, we have shitty days, and we need time away from each other (which we take). We’re an awesome team
  • I know that if tragedy did strike, I would be okay. Again, I would be devastated, but I am secure and confident and know that I would make life work.
  • I have an outstanding support system. I have found my tribe and I am thankful. I have amazing people in my life, respectful, supportive, encouraging, loving, honest, real people.
  • My son is amazing. He is bright, kind, cheerful, he has a beautiful heart and soul, he loves to cuddle and read, and he is most reassured through hugs. I love him and I am so proud of him.
  • I have dreams. My own dreams. Not only dreams, but projects borne of those dreams. I am not sitting and waiting for retirement to realize my potential in my interests. I am working on my passions now.
  • I have built an amazing professional life. I have taken jobs I maybe should not have and I have learned from them. I have quit jobs I maybe should not have and I have become more me in the process. I have taken chances to pursue my passions and further realize my Self.
  • I understand that I am important. That my life doesn’t belong to anyone but me. I am a friend, a mother, a wife, but those are not who I am. I am Kim and in order to be everything else in my life, I need to be the truest, most pure, most successful Kim I can be. (Constant work in progress that will never be truly met…which I kind of really love.)
  • …I have KitchenAid appliances…?

That is how I measure success. My life, my success.

How about you? How do you measure your life? How are you judged in your life? What have you fought against to get to where you are, or what’s bogging you down right now?

I feel for you folks, and I won’t say that I’ve never judged. I have. I’m pretty sure we all have. I just try really hard not to, now. I’ve been through enough shit to understand that everyone has their own shit to deal with. (I vastly prefer when they focus on dealing with their lives and not go out of their way to be mean assholes, though.) I’d rather focus on what’s important to me than what I envy, or what pisses me off about others.

Apocalyptica feat. Corey Taylor – I’m Not Jesus

UNT.

 

Obligatory new year post

Or: no fear.

Happy 2016, folks! I hope your NYE was lovely, safe, and well worth the staying up late part (I was in bed at 2130h. Because of course I was). I hope this year brings you beauty, peace, understanding, adventure, and some real, gritty happiness.

I always want to think that I don’t believe in this “new year, new beginning” rigmarole. I want to think that it’s silly and that January 1st is just another day in a long string of days. But I don’t think that, guess I’m just not that cool. What I hope is that it is a new beginning, because I like beginnings. I like endings, too. I like closing one chapter and opening another. I like fresh sheets of paper with no history scratched into them. I like clean slates.

So, whether it is for you or not, today is a new page for me. I literally opened a new notebook and started scribbling in it today, because it made sense. It made sense not to open something old just to finish it.

I don’t have a word for 2016, I have a phrase. I’m harking back to my ’90s teenager self and going with:

No Fear

(Image found @ thepinballcompany.com)

No fear. (Not “unafraid.” That’s not quite the same.)

Fear is a great thing. It’s useful, it’s a warning, it’s something to be aware of and honour. It is not, however, something to hand complete control over to. Heed it and evaluate. Understand its importance and act accordingly.

For instance, I fell asleep the other night to thoughts of “I need to give up this doula dream. I just [have a lot of excuses that I can grab easily].” It isn’t that the excuses aren’t valid, they could be if I wanted them to be, it’s that I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what it means to be a doula, the time commitment, the (very real, very hard) work (of building a business. The supporting of people part doesn’t worry me), what my life will look like when that is a reality. Thankfully I’ve had a few amazing people tell me a few amazing things recently that I have had be releasing some of that fear and continuing forward.

The same can be said about writing. I’m afraid of writing. Again, there’s a commitment there that doesn’t always make me comfortable, I’m afraid that it is as easy as putting one word in front of another and I’m afraid that it’s not. So, like with doula-ing, I let my fear paralyze me.

This year, I’m going to try to acknowledge my fear, but then move forward. If it is more important to change course and avoid The New (and sometimes it is), then I will do that. If I am afraid because I am finding myself a few feet off of my beaten comfort zone path, I’m going to try to look beyond that and forge on.

With that, goodbye 2015. You were a great year. You brought me great dreams, great understandings, great(er) relationships, and hardships to overcome. I appreciate you and I’m thrilled to have known you. Hello 2016, I hope we can be friends. I like the look of you and I see some greatness in our future together.

Happy new year, kids.

Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time

UNT.

Holiday curiosity.

Guys, I’m tired of Christmas.

Okay no. That’s not quite it.

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the music, the snow (I live in Northern Canada, we have really lovely snowfalls), the seasonal beverage choices, the togetherness with friends and family, and the food (oh the food. Baking. It is all about the baking).

I am so thrilled to say that I have my Christmas mojo back this year. For the first Christmas in the last three, I am super excited for the season and everything it means and carries with it.

What I do not love and am growing increasingly more uncomfortable with is buying things for people who really don’t need anything and receiving things when I am a person who also doesn’t really need anything. I know how many people struggle to be warm and find enough to quell gnawing hunger this time of year and it’s stifling and humbling.

It could be all of that “white privilege” and “first world problem” noise, or it could be the fact that I’m not ten anymore. Don’t get me wrong folks, I do enjoy gifts, giving and receiving them (110% giving more than receiving), I’m just more aware of and more interested in giving back. I have a lot, I’m comfortable, and I really love my life. I have a lot to share and I feel strongly that it’s time I did that.

So in a really long-winded way (because obviously. That’s what I do), I’m wondering if any of you have dealt with this before. What I’d like to do is tally my holiday gift expenses and start donating most of it. There are still people I will buy gifts for, but mostly they will be children. Otherwise I’m more interested in gifting baking and time.

Have you made a holiday shift and started donating time, money, services, groceries, toys, etc. to people who need it more than you do? If so, how is it going? Did you come up against any animosity? If so, how did you deal with it?

Thank you, folks. As ever, I appreciate you! I hope you and yours are having a wonderful season, however that looks for you.

The Piano Guys – Carol of the Bells

UNT.

On Suicide.

Have you ever been suicidal?

I have.

I went so far, the time it frightened even me, as to put the baby down, after having fed him to sleep, and measure the time that my husband was gone against when I knew he would be home. I would have had ten or fifteen minutes. More than enough time to bleed out, and a very safe amount of time for my son to nap, needing nothing until his next feeding, which could come from a bottle as easily as a breast.

Even then, despite shocking myself, suicide was an abstract thought. But it was a thought and it did what all good thoughts do in my head: it took root. It took root, wound ’round Depression, and grew like a noxious weed. Because the thing about the urge to kill yourself? It doesn’t go away. It festers. Some days are easier, you almost don’t notice, but it’s always there. These days, I can see the path. I know my route. I know what suicide looks like for me and it gets easier every time I inch a little bit closer.

I grew up in a house that condemned people who take their own lives as “selfish cowards.” Having lived a life that was innocently blind to the lies of depression, I can understand where they’re coming from with that line of thinking. I vehemently disagree, but I can follow the tracks that train of thought takes. As I grew up, I began to learn how to view the world through my own eyes and draw my own conclusions. When I think about people who kill themselves, I feel sad. I’m sad because they’re not here anymore. I feel sad because they were so beyond sad and so empty and felt so alone, and that scares me. It scares me because I’ve felt something akin to that. I know the prologue to that story and it’s awful. There is no feeling more lonely than that. But to pile on the shame and guilt of entertaining taboo thoughts of ending your own life? It’s too much. It’s just too fucking much.

People who kill themselves are not weak. They’re not selfish. They’re certainly not cowards. (What instinct is more strong than our instinct to survive?) They’re drowning in darkness and cold, and they’re tired of trying to hold on and breathe.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

I feel like a hypocrit asking you to live, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to do it because I want you to live. You’re important and wonderful and you don’t see it right now, but you’re a world changer, kid. Please take another step. And another. One at a time. Please reach out if you feel yourself stumble and you just want to stop. I’m here. I’ll hold your hand. We can just sit here for as long as you need. Just don’t leave.

I’m going to ask you to live, because I want you to do the same for me. I don’t know how you feel, but I know how you feel. I know that if I think you’re important and wonderful, I probably am, too. I know that I want you to take my hand and sit with me. I know that we can just be, in the darkness, together. I know that you won’t judge me, just as I won’t judge you. I know that we can just be. Together. One moment after another.

If you’re truly considering taking your life and you don’t have anyone to talk to, call 911. It’s the easiest number to remember, and they’re there to help you. (I’ve been on the answering end of that telephone and I’ve received the “I just can’t anymore” calls. I’ve kept people on the telephone while I’ve sent emergency help to them and waited for them to arrive.) Because you’re important. And you’re wonderful. And you’re a world changer.

Until next time.

Dear ogre,

I love you. I miss you. I still think of you often.

You know, but I need to write it anyway. I’ve never been mad at you. I’ve always been sad. Gut-wrenchingly sad. I’m sad because I didn’t know how dark it got for you. I’m sad because I know there was nothing I could have done, but I wish I had known to try. I’m sad because I will never get to hug you and I so desperately wanted to hug you.

But I’m also happy. In life and in death, you’ve taught me so much. You’ll still teach me a lot, I think. I see things differently, and I know you’re a part of that. I love how I feel, how I think, and how I treat the world. I think you’d be proud of me and that’s a damn fine thing to think. It’s my legacy for you. I want to be a person you would be proud of.

You’re always at the front of the line, honey.

I love you so very much.

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