I arrived at my psychiatrist’s appointment last Tuesday. I’d already ran through how this appointment was gonna play out in my head. Now, this is the psychiatrist I started seein’ after I went through a terrible, no good, prolonged depressive episode last April on accounta… well… on accounta that’s what happened. Everyone says this new psychiatrist is brilliant, a genius! When I say everybody, I mean, everydamnbody. My family doctor, every therapist I know, the girl at the check out, my neighbor… everybody thinks the new guy is the shiz. But he took no guff from me the last time I saw him and I already knew he wanted me to stop taking a medication I thought I couldn’t do without, so yeah, I was ready for him. This made up conversation in my head went something like this.
Steven Universe is one of the little-Little’s favorite shows. I’ve watched a few times with her and it’s some progressive, good stuff. Plus, Steven is downright entertaining.
Last week, the little-Little shared this song, Here Comes a Thought/ Flexibility, Love, & Trust with me. The song reminded her of the discussion we had about mindfulness. What’s mindfulness? Mindfulness means paying attention; being in the present moment; acknowledging and accepting, without judgement, our feelings, thoughts, and body.
Writer: Beth Hallman | Sometimes, this is what happens, friends. This is raw and in the moment- my personal experience with mental illness and my journey to love my body just as it is.
What happens when you don’t fit? When a one size fits all life is too small for someone bigger in every possible way? Most places don’t feel right or good or…
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I slept for two days after that Facebook friend request. I don’t know if I shut down or what. This wasn’t a depressive episode for sure. I know depression. Although, a friend of mine and I were talkin’ recently about how a depressive episode is much like child birth. You know it’s bad. You remember it’s super painful, but for some reason you forget how deep it runs. The memory of the pain is numb. Time places a filter over it… until it happens again. You’re shocked by how all consuming and terrible it really is. You get the wind knocked out of you. You’ve been through this before, so how could you forget the intensity of the experience? Hopefully, just like with child birth, there’s life at the end of the struggle.
“Friend, I’m deactivating my personal Facebook account. Not deleting, just deactivating. All of the professional social media platforms associated with Beth Hallman- One Fabulous Mama will remain live and active. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing happened. For now, I’d simply like to remain in contact with my friends by phone, email, or (gasp!) regular, old mail. If you’d like for me to remain in touch with you as well, respond with your personal contact information. I value your friendship! Much love, Beth”
That’s the message I send yesterday to over one hundred people on my friends’ list. I send something similar to folks whom I’ve made connections with on social media via blogger/writer/advocacy business. I become too exhausted to send any other messages to anyone else. I start planning how to hide on Facebook.
Four years ago, I have a meltdown at this little historic theatre in Milledgeville, Georgia. It’s the last day of a leadership camp for College Girl who’s about to start her senior year in high school. All the kids at the camp crowd into this theatre and perform a drum major routine they’ve learned during a week long camp. Simple enough. A proud mama moment, right?
On the way to the theatre, I’m already having the meltdown. It’s an anxiety attack. I don’t remember all the details. I write a post about it. Some of y’all may remember it. The meat of the story is about the theatre seats. The damn seats. The theatre was built in 1926, so the seats are narrow, like I don’t even know how half those folks wedged up in those seats back in the day.
In 2012, I can’t stand myself. No, seriously. I cannot stand myself. I’m out here, preaching the love yourself sermon, ’cause I’m trying, but it’s not taking. I’m back and forth, talking about it. I’m steady tryin’ to walk the walk. And then, I get to this theatre, and I can’t wedge into these seats. Not even sideways. I mean, if I lean back and kinda put an ass cheek in the aisle, I can. Kinda perch like the middle-Little used to do with this stuffed walrus she had. She’d let part of it hang over the side of her shelf, ’cause bless. That big old thing wasn’t ever gonna fit up there beside those Beanie Babies.
I’ve had this on again/off again love affair with makeup since I was teenager. I used to spend hours putting my face on with my friend, Margo, when I was younger. The act of blending colors and painting our faces was a ritual back in the day. I absolutely adored it.
A man walks into a bar. He takes a seat and starts a conversation with an old guy next to him. The old guy has obviously had a few. He says to the man, “You see that dock out there? Built it myself, hand crafted each piece, and it’s the best dock in town. But do they call me ‘McGregor, the dock builder?’ No! And you see that bridge over there? I built that, took me two months, through rain, sleet and scorching weather. But do they call me ‘McGregor, the bridge builder?’ No! And you see that pier over there? I built that, best pier in the county. But do they call me ‘McGregor, the pier builder?’ No!”
The old guy looks around, leans closer to the man, and he says, ” But you fuck one goat…”
Okay, here’s the deal about living with mental illness. Even when you’re not having an episode and your medication is regulated and you’re managing your shit and everything’s going along hunky dory, it’s hard. ‘Cause I gotta question my behavior. Is this okay? When I get sad, is it okay to be this sad? Is this the beginning of an episode? Have I been sad for a few days? Do I feel sick right now or am I closing down? Do I simply want to be alone for a few days while I work or am I circling my wagons? Questions, questions.