I started blogging in 2012 and it became a massive part of my life. It gave me a sense of purpose after having to apply for disability due to severe mental health issues and chronic pain from fibromyalgia.
Then life changed as it always does. It takes a lot of courage to write about yourself while being as candid as possible. I suppose that I had just burned myself out.
I decided that I needed to step away for a spell.
I’m hopeful that I’ve taken enough personal time now so that I can start my new blogging journey. My life has changed in so many ways and I hope that it will prove to be a positive experience once again.
I haven’t intentionally abandoned my new blog already, I swear. You see, I’ve been quite busy planning my Christmas wedding with my new husband.
Some of you know that my 1st marriage ended badly due to (his) cheating, lying, and general shadiness. It’s been more than 5 years since the ex left and I wasn’t planning on ever getting remarried.
That was before I met Ken earlier this year on Facebook dating.
Long story short, we’ve been inseparable since the day we met and haven’t looked back since. I am so happy. I never dreamed that I would find someone like him but I suppose that’s what makes life so unpredictable, eh?
He proposed the day after my 48th birthday in August and we mutually decided upon a small wedding at home. The entire Christmas theme is meaningful to both of us. He dressed as Santa to help cheer himself along while having cancer a while back. I’ve had a serious lack of Christmas spirit, especially since my mom died in 2019. My mom WAS Christmas and without her, the entire season felt empty.
We got married on December 10, 2022. We planned it together, with some help from my brother and sister-in-law.
My brother was the Best Man and my daughter was the Maid of Honor.
It was a festive, beautiful wedding day and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it went. We spent the next day at home doing nothing but watching TV, eating leftover food, napping, and being together as husband and wife.
Now it’s time to get ready for Christmas! For the first time in years, I am not dreading it.
In June 2021, I was actively suicidal and in the planning stage. If you’ve ever had this experience, you know how far down the rabbit hole Google can take you. Unfortunately, there’s a vast amount of information out there, which further sent me into the darkness of my own misfiring mind.
I was struggling to survive and make it day by day. The medication was just not cutting it anymore. I’ve tried almost all of them over the years. Some were helpful enough but in the last decade, I hadn’t had much luck.
I was running out of options and so exhausted from fighting my own brain just to stay alive.
I happened upon an ad from a place called Greenbrook TMS on Facebook because the algorithm surely knew how despondent I was. After scrolling past it a number of times, I decided to click the link. I mean, what the hell, right?
Since I am not all that great when it comes to science, this is how the website explains it.
TMS targets an area of the brain that is believed to regulate mood to treat depression at its neurological source. The good news is that researchers have now answered two crucial questions: how does depression affect the brain, and what chemical imbalance causes depression? These discoveries can help you on your journey toward recovery.
So, I made the call. My insurance covered it. I was eligible, and in mid-July 2021, I started 36 TMS treatments. This meant that I had to drive to the office about 15 miles from my home and stick with it for 36 consecutive visits (weekends off.) Basically, a gigantic machine would send magnetic waves into my underactive prefrontal cortex to wake it the fuck up. The sensation isn’t exactly pleasant but tolerable and is akin to having a woodpecker confuse your cranium for a chunk of nice wood.
It was a miracle.
Because of my experience with TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation), I will write often about this sci-fi-sounding depression treatment that changed my life. I was able to achieve full remission for almost an entire year from my depression and OCD symptoms. Not only was I able to feel the difference in myself, but family and friends were simply amazed, saying that I seemed like a brand-new person.
Well, a couple of friends didn’t like the positive changes and now they are no longer my friends.
Even my anxiety became less of a problem and I was able to wean off of my Klonopin after 6 years. I attribute this to a trickle-down effect, less depression and OCD, less anxiety. I also started therapy six months ago to address some intense trauma, especially complicated grief regarding my mother’s passing in May of 2019.
Around the 1st year mark, I started noticing signs that I was slowly fading away again. My appetite decreased and although it’s a great way to lose weight, it’s not a sustainable way to take good care of myself. My interest in proper hygiene began waning, staying asleep at night was a challenge again, wanting to nap to hide away from life, and feeling the urge to isolate scared the hell out of me.
I also started feeling what I call the doomies, which should be rather self-explanatory.
It’s not unusual for people to have to go back eventually. It’s only a treatment, not a cure.
After having a panic attack while getting ready to leave for a friend’s book club meeting, I decided that it was time to call Greenbrook TMS again. (I am well known for being quite stubborn.)
I returned to familiar faces yesterday to begin another set of 36 treatments. I will happily stick with it again, for I am determined to never be severely depressed or suicidal again.
I met Dave for the first time on a cold November night in 2017 while having a panic attack. My then 20-year-old daughter was late coming home from work and wasn’t responding to my calls or texts so I was seriously embarrassed to be having such a meltdown in front of a stranger.
Once I explained my problem, he took a hit from his cigarette, smiled encouragingly, and nodded thoughtfully.
“I’m sure that she’s just fine.”
He was a good-looking kid but appeared to be 35 rather than only 25 years old. I wouldn’t learn why that was for a few months but at that moment, I was just grateful for his kindness and mere presence. My ex-husband had only been gone for a short time and I wasn’t accustomed to being home alone.
We shared a few more words, and he explained that he had a friend over and was having a few drinks. He was sorry about the loud music. I didn’t give a shit and said so, for I was busy eyeballing a car that turned out to be my daughter pulling into her parking spot.
“There she is,” I said, letting the breath I’d been holding finally whoosh out, wishing that I had asked him to bum a smoke before my daughter’s arrival home.
“See? She’s fine, you can relax now.”
Yes, until the next bout of anxiety which was imminent. But I just nodded and thanked him.
He gave me a sparkly, mischievous smile that I would grow to love.
I found out that he died while I was shopping for dog food. My daughter rarely called me from work so I knew something was wrong and her sobbing made the hair on my arms prickle. All she managed was to say his name and I knew what had happened instantly.
Dave was an alcoholic and an addict. He’d been fighting his battle for a long time and although I was heartbroken at the news, I was not at all surprised.
For a season in time, he was like a son. As close as we had been, I only had strong maternal instincts toward him. We leaned upon each other to fill the cold, lonely voids that had penetrated both of our hearts and souls through different traumatic experiences, which we shared openly and without apology.
Our mutual brokenness and love for music had been our main bond. The proximity of being neighbors in the condo development made it convenient for us to become so close. I had 18 years on him and he often referred to me as a second mom, although I never felt fully comfortable with that. I’d known his mom for a short time. She’d passed 6 years prior from the same thing that would eventually needlessly steal away his own life.
Although I’ve never had much affection for alcohol or drugs, I recently just started smoking again. I find excuses to justify my decades-long addiction to nicotine, but the fact remains that it will eventually prove lethal if I continue to light up.
I could go on and on about myself right now but this post isn’t about me, it’s about a young man named Dave who isn’t here right now getting ready to celebrate the holidays with his family. I do not for the life of me understand the kind of addictions that plagued him and I never will.
I have healed myself enough within the last 5 years to understand that there was nothing anyone could’ve done for him. I’d had to keep a distance to protect my own peace and carrying any guilt would not bring him back. All of the questions that I have about his final hours will never be answered but enabling him was something that I was no longer willing to do.
He was only 30, for fucks sake.
It’s amazing how much heartbreak we can hold inside of us and continue to move forward.