Saturday, July 2, 2016

Don't Worry Baby: Anemia, Depression, Grief, Anxiety and Music.

My youngest was curled up in my bed one early morning due to weather, which is his only trigger for anxiety. My exceptionally brave son is suddenly a wreck when the winds blow in. After multiple times of asking me if he could throw up, I heard his little voice quaver, "Mom, do I have anxiety?" I chuckled and kissed his freckled cheek soundly and responded,"This is undoubtedly anxiety. Feeling like you are going to puke because you have been shaking and your teeth have been chattering because you are so upset is part of worry. It affects everything. You are not going to throw up if you calm down a bit. Don't worry baby, storms never last. We do our best to stay safe and leave the rest.. life will happen if it happens. There is not much you can do but let mommy and daddy take care of what we can. Let go and rest my son." I stroked his brow and got in more kisses on his forehead because I knew that one day he won't be snuggled up to me anymore. I savour for the sake of my future self.

Now if only I could take my own heartfelt advice when it comes to my own life. Sensory overload can cause a full load of anxiety on any given day. I call that my usual stress. It's part and parcel of being different in a world that asks me to conform. But then there are my panic triggers. Oc course, there are stresses that when I am in a logical state of mind, I can address quite promptly. Or maybe I can address them but I still feel the tension building up inside of me despite my heroics in the rationality department? Regardless anxiety is not a friend.

An example of something ridiculous that still causes me angsty emotions would be spider mites. Yup, spider mites. Anam Cara houses 94 plants but today I am down to 92 and have spent the better part of two hours scrubbing and soaping down ivy in my shower, hoping to save twelve more but two had to be burnt they were so infested. It was a mistake to bring in a plant from outside. I felt it in my gut, but like all bad decisions in my life, I ignored my intuition. It happens. To be honest, I am glad that I found the cause of my brittle yellow plant leaves. I couldn't figure out why for months a few of my plants, despite proper placement, watering and care, were still dying. It kind of kept me up at night. Ha ha. Seriously, when there is not an obvious cause my brain works overtime until I find one.

As I mentioned before, I struggle with insomnia and this season is awful. When my husband and I were trying to calm down our son during the storm my brilliant husband put on christmas music. Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby were crooning, "Count your blessings instead of sheep" and I realized that while I try to do this every night to go to sleep, I was going about it all wrong. Maybe, I just need to set it to music? Because when I start counting all the gratitude moments I also remember all the counter balancing painful moments. With music, it feels more soothing. "When my bank roll is getting small, I think of when I had none at all, and I go to sleep counting my blessings. I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads, and one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds. If you're worried and you can't sleep. Just count your blessings instead of sheep and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings." Sometimes I just keep whispering, "Gratitude...I'm thankful. They are happy and healthy. They are safe in their beds, my husband is snoring and I am snug in a place many would give their life savings for...gratitude..." over and over because if I start thinking about my kids being happy and healthy, as an INFJ, I will start thinking of the kids who are not this way...and then the thoughts tumble into the dark abyss of the negative state of humanity, until I can pull myself back out and the cycle starts over again.

I tend to embrace life wholeheartedly- the struggles and the good. Right now, the season seems to be struggle. Sticky situations happen. Sleep depravity and health don't aid the issue. My ferritin dropped again and I am getting so tired of being BONE WEARY exhausted. That happens when you don't have enough oxygen to go to your organs. Every day is a feat. Every moment of normality comes at a cost. Sometimes I want to scream that it is unfair when I do almost everything "right. " Or yell that I am too young for this and too young to hurt so much from WALKING. Sometimes I get desperate enough to complain to a new doctor but nothing ever comes of it except me feeling stupid later. I also hate hearing the standard, "up your iron intake" despite the fact that I have upped it and been on therapy for three years with not much improvement. I like knowing cause and I don't seem to have one except for my own theory that Lyme is causing this. I need to see my naturopath again but can't get in until october so I am just coping. I need support and I should have realized this sooner so that is on me. "Bartender pour the wine- cuz the hurtin’s on mine. Tonight the heartaches on me.”- Dixie Chicks

I need to take responsibility for my woes. I need to relax and accept once again. Re define what makes a good life and what it is that makes me worthy. If my heart goes out to those who seem hard on their luck- why can't it go out to myself? Ridiculously, my body image is what is causing the most issues psychologically. I don't feel shame about this as I know most people struggle with self image from time to time, but it's not something I generally prefer talking about. While I have always had a fairly healthy self esteem, I have had my share of mirror gazing too. Right now it feels like too many factors are stacked against me. I mostly want to hide. I have gained weight due to insomnia and depression, I have lost hair due to Ferritin dropping even more and my grey hairs are popping out all over. Pigmentation above my lip looks like I am growing a moustache with the summer tan effect and to top it off my skin managed to get a bad case of folliculitis from a hot tub (I will regret that decision for a very long time.) While I realize some of these things can eventually be masked or even "fixed" they all add up. I feel decades older than I am. Losing my hair the last few years has been quite hard on my self esteem. I don't think people realize until they have been through it how much hair affects our perceptions of each other and of self. It symbolizes good health, youth, beauty, sex and reproduction.

I am reframing my perceptions and mentalities about such subjects but I can't tackle a couple decades worth of preconditioning in one year. Some days I come out with the "screw it all- I am worthy and wonderful" mentality and other days it's an effort to want to look in the mirror. Yup, I am a work in progress. It may seem frivolous but anyone who believes that they do not give some consideration to their health or appearance and how that affects their day to day lives are lying to themselves. It is especially tough because I walk every day and I have not touched sugar for over three years nor gluten for that matter. I enjoy my natural foods but sometimes when I see a healthy person enjoying an ice cream or a chocolate bar I think, "How the heck does that work? How do they stay fit and healthy and yet are filling their system with chemicals and crap? And I am still sick while I snack on vegetables, meat and fruit? WTF." Oh well, blessed genes I suppose or maybe they are so carefree their mentality just seeps into their body fabric? I don't know what I believe about the mind body connection but I know it is a thing...however, I also do not believe that crap that we are everything we eat or do. Because some very health conscious, positively vibe minded, good decision makers get cancer and some beer bellied, smoking, junk food obsessed wife beaters live till their really who is to say? I suppose, like most things in life I fall on the paradox platter. I believe in both contextually and depending. It's so fun to be me.

My husband is in grief on and off due to losing his mother three months ago- and grief comes in epic tidal waves. It's always there, like waves lapping against the shore gently and some days are even perfectly ordinary, but then a trigger or a moment happens and the grief can be debilitating. Grief is awful and yet...yet...there is hidden beauty too. Most times it's not beautiful but then there is the odd moment, when way after midnight he is crying in my arms and we decide to go outside. The world is quiet, the sky is dark out to the west with stars lighting up our view. We feel alone even though we are surrounded by neighbours. We sit on the porch and watch a cat toy with it's prey in the darkness. Tears slip down his face and I am captured by his beauty. I run my fingers through his long, shaggy hair (coveted by me) over and over and his face glistens in the moonlight as it tightens with pain at another memory. I listen silently. The wind brings in sounds of summer and fragrant rose and a whiff of grass. It almost feels sacred. The moment is a hush of letting go and holding on.

There are other moments that are only ours and not for the world to know. Then there are moments that the darkness is forever enveloping. Some other struggles will pass with time and I don't need to speak upon them. But it all adds up. Yet, life is LIFE. I feel the joy of it while I sink deeper in the muck. Do you feel it? Do you feel the pain but somewhere, somehow there is also abundance? I believe one can still be depressed while appreciating life. I am an expert on varied forms of depression and they are not all textbook cases. But perhaps right now mine is anxiety and life circumstance based. Plus the world is just crazy but it always has been- we currently have media to spread the knowledge of injustice quicker perhaps? I try to stay away from the news but of course I hear things and it effects me.

I wish I could say "Don't worry baby!" and that everything really would turn out all right. But life is full. In those moments sometimes all I can do to get through life myself, is to listen to the Beach Boys sing "Don't worry baby" on full blast, late at night, for two full hours repeating, while writing a post, because that is literally the string that is keeping my sanity in tact. When my ears feel tired I will know I am ready to move on. My daughter comes in and asks me to turn it down while indulgently kissing my cheek. I move the sound from the bluetooth to the computer speakers and I know that my music time is coming to a close. But that is ok. I feel purged. I listened to my instincts. Writing is a bleeding out of my soul...I always feel at least 60% better after I craft a post and put it out into the void. Music can sometimes get me to 80% even in a depression. At least short term. I feel that music has been my medicine. When I can not take medication for depression ( due to side effects) music has saved me from life moments that can not be given back. Pop, rock, jazz, oldies, country, opera, broadway, metal...each of them, at differing moments, have expressed my soul in ways that I could not have healthily expressed otherwise. Music is what my feelings sound like. My music will tell more about me than I will ever tell myself and if I can't explain I will find a song that can.

Thank you net universe for the free therapy. I came to the computer with a heavy heart and now I leave with a lighter soul. Music and writing...the way I cope with life. "Oh I'm a mess right now. Inside out. Searching for a sweet surrender but this is not the end. I can't work it out. How? Going through the motions..."- Ed Sheeran lyrics.


FlutistPride said...

I know the feeling all too well...and I am rather blunt when I discuss feelings.

Kmarie A. said...

Yes I am very honest with my feelings. Its the only way I know how to be. I feel that honesty is important to express anger, depression and anxiety and things most people hide. Why hide it? It's human:) I am sorry you know the feeling all to well at times though as it can be tough - hopefully you have ways to cope that make life enjoyable too. xo

Anonymous said...

I love your positive self talk and wanting to have that during this hard time.. Sucks major you have to wait until October to see the np 😟 I also am loosing hair and finding it harder on my self esteem .. Weird how that works... music is my medicine too... Grief is weird and hard and beautiful. Your children are sweet and beautiful and are already incredible humans, I know the lack of energy is depressing but you are raising better children then many energy filled people. Hoping for sweet sleep to return to your weary soul soon! Love you so much dear friend- MLW

Kmarie A. said...

Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. Sometimes the feedback helps so much and being listened to. Grief is hard and beautiful and HARD. it does suck that I have to wait till october! and that compliment about my kids made me teary- I needed those words! THANK YOU. You are dear. I am sorry you are also losing your hair- I think that has been my toughest self esteem issue ever. I would take a little extra weight or even acne over it- tho lucky me I have all three! Ha ha- glad you noticed the trying for positivity. That also means a lot as it can be a feat sometimes:) Oh sleep would be epic! Thank you. Love you. xo

S said...

Thank you for writing this post. Music is a great healer. Thank you for sharing all the songs and music that you have been sharing all these years. These means a lot to me. I am in lookout for good music. always. I would rather listen to music than listen to people :) For passionate and deep people, music can allow them to reach those heights of emotions/melancholy/sadness and others feelings that they cannot express in words and which others cannot really feel or understand...
I am always thankful to you for the music CDs that you sent me during Christmas, They are so important to me, I keep listening...I discovered Jason Mraz through you !!
Sorry to hear about what you are going through.WE feel sad about things that might no longer matter one day...or that might vanish into thin air one day...but I hope that in the midst of all this, we will have each each other's eyes , gray hair and body fat never mattered...whatever hurts us, makes us feel bad about ourselves...those things does not matter to our loved ones, they love us in spite of all these.
But about individual grief and sadness...about what we cannot resolve ourselves...that hurts us the most...I guess...even if people may console you, love you, we are not ready to accept because there are moments when we cannot see beyond our own self...It happens to me too, I am in my head and not able to see other perspective or other things.
We have to validate our feelings, good or bad...we cannot run away from what we feel bad. That is why I agree that writing and expressing our grief helps us to lift a heavy burden from our hearts...I discuss these issues with my husband...But at the end of the day, I do want only happiness for myself and in my home, even if sometimes it feels unreachable, it is my goal. Little moments of happiness are so important than those unresolvable bigger issues...the way you write your blog or take pictures, share and listen to music, find new music, taking care of your plants and see them grow...these little moments.
Grief and depression can derail us from reaching our true potential and yet at the same time, they are necessary to feel like a human being...without feelings of sadness and their expression, we will not be able to function as feeling/caring beings...nor understand the misery of others...
So, it is a paradox...we need feelings to feel yet not allow feelings to rule us but to heal us in some ways.

Kmarie A. said...

S: Music is such a great healer! Especially the lyrics:) I am so glad I have become part of your magical song journey. That is one of the highest role I could have in my friends life. I have always loved sharing music. I am glad you treasure it. I am also always on the lookout for quality music to add to my many loves. You are right- for certain personalities it is literally our expression at times and more than just a song. So much more. I am glad you still love those christmas cds. Lol Jason Mraz...that is awesome. I should make you some more sometime!

You are right of course, all that stuff will vanish...and each other is what matters. And perspective is always everything but also the paradox of validating and expressing our feelings. I love how you put that. Yes I have the same goals for my home. Those little moments are the world to me and keep my floating when tough times hit. You are right in the fact that grief and depression can derail but are also legitimate aspects of human expereince and sometimes add to empathy. It is a paradox! I LOVE your last sentence especially. Wisdom.