pajamas and cigarettes.

For a person that suffers with depression that is usually a “go-getter”, boredom is very hard. You’d find it odd to think that during my late husband’s illness, I was on no antidepressant. I had something to constantly do, and that was taking care of and advocating for him daily. That was continually scheduled trips to hospitals and doctor visits for treatment, both near and far. Between taking care of Kyle and being a mother and managing a house, I was always busy and I loved it. Of course, as appointments came and went to check in on his progress, my nerves would get the best of me and I’d damn near break out in a panic attack, fearful of what his scans would show and what his doctors had to say. Whether the results were good or bad, I always had a sense of relief once the unknown was delivered. Not long after his passing, I went to beauty school. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life because the job of taking care of my husband had ended. I needed something to do. I chose beauty school simply because I loved people and I was creative. Beauty school was great for me because it had me on a schedule and my goal was to finish, so I had to go. For someone with depression, idol time means overthinking- from insecurities to being fearful of another significant loss. It’s best to thrive with depression when you commit to a daily schedule and are held accountable for it. Beauty school was another season. It’s what I needed at that time. I paid tuition to attend to become a hairstylist. I just knew I was going to be successful- and, I was. I could still be. But, it’s not for me. Beauty school gave me a group of amazing friends, much laughter, and taught me how to apply my makeup. 🙂

I recently remarried. My husband is my best friend. Besides the fact that he is uber motivated, is a health nut, and competes in triathlons, we are just alike. Thankfully, he doesn’t suffer with mental illness, so it’s a win for me! He forces me to stay on top of my health- my mental health, to be exact. He wishes he could get me to tag along on a 7,000 mile bike ride or a 3 day run, but he’d better have a dog chasing me to do that crazy shit! Regardless, my husband just wants me to be living happily. Anyway, where I was going with being recently married, in the time that I was planning our wedding, I was busy. I had something to do. I had things to get done by a certain deadline. I was so excited to be marrying my best friend. I was so excited to have our best of friends and family coming in from out of town. I was occupied. I wanted my wedding to be perfect, and it was. My wedding day was a fairytale. By the morning after, I had hit rock bottom. I was sad. I was so unexplainably sad. WTF? I had just married my best friend the night before and we were getting ready for a lifetime of happiness. How could I be so sad? I had no idea. I felt the pain of depression in my chest. I was so anxious. How unfair to my new husband! A little part of me thinks that maybe a little grief was involved- I just changed my last name and was no longer titled a “widow”. Human nature, of course, had me reliving some of the events of my first wedding and feeling sad that my first marriage ended the way it did. But grief aside, I was falling into a depression. For months prior to the wedding, I had been feeling so great that “forgetting” to take one dose of my antidepressants was ok, but that led to two missed doses, followed by a week of missed doses, followed by a downward spiral and straight into depression. What was I supposed to do next? My wedding planning was over and our friends and family had returned home. It was time to face my new life as a wife, stepmother, and, of course, mother.

One thing that coincides with my depression and mental illness is perfectionism. Perfectionism leads to procrastination. I have a stack of things to “get done”, including writing thank you notes. In fact, “writing thank you notes” is on my old-fashioned to-do list that I can’t seem to get anything scratched off of. Seeing a stack of things to get done, text messages to reply to, phone calls to return, and even sitting down to write this blog gives me so much anxiety to think about. Why? Because I’m a perfectionist. I have the hardest time sitting down and getting anything done until I know that I have enough uninterrupted time to get it done “perfectly”. I’m slowly trying to find a balance of “perfectionism”. If you know me, you know that if I’m to attend any event, I’ll likely run late to get there. I have a compulsive habit of wanting the view of my house to look “perfect”. Before I leave home to get to scheduled appointments, grocery shop, etc. I feel the deepest urge to make sure that pillows on my couch are turned the proper way, the throw blankets have to be neatly thrown over the couch with no tags exposed (if I haven’t already cut the tag off…..haha!), the toilet lids need to be down, and Heaven forbid, if I see a smudge on my stainless steel, the whole kitchen is getting cleaned. I absolutely hate it. So, when I know I can’t make everything perfect with the waving of a magic wand, I procrastinate.

I titled this entry the way I did so that I can explain why I, with mental health issues, need to be on a structured schedule. I need to not have enough time in my day to be bored, yet how do I find the motivation to keep myself occupied all day? It’s so easy for one who doesn’t understand to say “well, if you really want to feel better, why don’t you go for a walk?” or “perfect time to get that gym membership active!”. HAHA! I wish. Some days, the only other living things I want to interact with are my dogs and the motivation to go fix myself a glass of water seems extremely hard. Go to the gym! Get outta here with that nonsense! 🙂 Let’s be honest, if I have to get out of bed on my bad days, at least let me lounge around in my pajamas until I’m ready to shower and on top of that, give me some cigarettes! Yep, I said it- cigarettes. I find great joy in smoking cigarettes when I’m depressed. Well, let me stop referring to it as “when I’m depressed”. Let me rephrase that with “when I know I’m not myself or when I know I’m not feeling like myself”. Although I usually have a pack of cigarettes handy, please don’t call me a smoker. I don’t want to be labeled a “smoker”, because I’m not one. I know the effects of smoking. I know it smells like shit. You’ll never catch me smoking out in public. I’m too proud for that. But, just like drinking a glass of wine to lessen the anxiety, a cigarette gets me up and outside and makes me feel occupied in the moment. Isn’t it weird how much I despise smoking? My biological father (my mentally ill dad) has been smoking for his entire life. He’s smoked so much that he should be rolling and selling his own brand of cigarettes by now. (He’s actually 3 weeks free of smoking, now!!!!) My biological dad’s mother smoked her entire life, as well. I never got to know her, but I’ve heard stories. She suffered greatly with mental illness. Throughout my life, in the rare occasion that I’d speak with my real father, I’d bitch at him every time about his smoking- it was going to kill him! How could he continue to smoke?? I get it. My dad and his mother didn’t have the support that I’m lucky enough to have to rise above the mental illness. Like I’ve mentioned before, mental illness was frowned upon. Believe me, I know, smoking is bad, but for goodness sake, if you’re doing it to get you through a season or ten, smoke that damn cigarette. (Just don’t go to bed smelling like an ashtray!)

More to come……..

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