How am I doing?

I’ve had some people ask recently how I’m doing. Honestly? I’m not doing well. My mom… well, she still has a terminal illness. My father just started dialysis. My children are so horribly behaved that I hate to take them in public. I hope I don’t sound like a drama queen here but I’m currently hating life right now. I’m under so much stress I don’t even know what to do with myself. My bp has been high. I’m not sure if my home bp cuff is right but I got 150/101 with a pulse of 89 a couple of hours ago.

I’ve thought for some time that Henry has Selective Mutism, no doubt there, but now I’m starting to think that he has some sensory issues as well. He’s got major issues with loud noises and, most recently, smells. He also flies off the handle over nothing. If he gets pissed, we’re liable to have to listen to something along the lines of “I want to watch Numberjacks. I want to watch Numberjacks….” repeated non-stop for very long periods of time – sometimes he’s gone about an hour before he either (finally) got distracted or fell asleep. And it’s truly as though he cannot stop once he gets started. At least, not easily. It’s not uncommon for him to throw things at people. Sometimes we’re able to distract him, but it’s bad. Bad, and seemingly getting worse. He’s supposed to start pre-k here shortly and I’m getting a bit concerned that he’s going to do something to cause issues there.

On top of that, I really miss Elias. There are so many times that I think of him and wonder what he’d have been like. Would he like the same things Noah does? Would he be into something else entirely?

I do have something positive to report. Friday night, Calvin slept the entire night (with Henry) in another room. That’s unheard of. Normally, on the rare occasion he falls asleep anywhere else, he wakes up, cries frantically, and comes running for our room. So, that’s something, right? Especially since we’re planning to switch rooms around so that all three of the dudes have the larger bedroom. This room switch might actually work after all. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

On grieving

Here are some funny things about grief. There’s nothing “normal” about it. It’s frequently ugly, and never is it tied up with a pretty bow. No matter how badly you want it to be. That’s hard on both the one suffering from a loss as well as those who interact with that person because the ones interacting are frequently – though not always – made very uncomfortable by the grief-stricken person.

Grieving people do so differently. You probably won’t grieve the same way I do and vice versa. And, guess what? That’s okay, too. I’ll let you in on a little secret here and it’s that you only think you know how you’d grieve in another’s circumstance.

The death of a child catapults a parent or parents into a totally different world. Everything is the same, yet different.

As long as you’re not harming yourself or others, there’s no wrong way to grieve. None.

You don’t know how it feels

This was going around Facebook last week. Perhaps in reference to Robin Williams’ suicide.

bullshit

The above is true for some people, sure. But not those who have depression or mental illnesses. It’s not just a fucking switch you turn on and off.

I got PTSD after a bad car wreck when I was pregnant with my oldest. Her birth (cesarean) was very traumatic to me which just added more on top of what was already unresolved. Then my next birth (highly medicalized VBAC) was also traumatic. More issues with PTSD. Yay!

When Elias died, I could feel the PTSD kicking my ass. I wish I could just make it go away. Unfortunately, I don’t get that option. I just get to live with it. And, let’s be frank, if you’ve never lost a child, you don’t know exactly what it’s like. Losing a spouse or a parent or a sibling may give you some idea, but not wholly so. Of course, that’s the first thing that people want to do. They want to tell you that they know how you feel because their _______ died. I don’t think for a minute that I know just how you feel when your ____ died, so do me a favor and don’t do that to me. You/I may have an idea how I/you feel, but unless you have lost a child or I have lost a ______, odds are good you/I don’t. And you say you’ve moved on? Just like flipping a switch. Well, congratulations to you. Not everyone is that cold and detached works that way.

Here’s some brutal honesty for you: The more stressed I feel, the more the depression and PTSD come out to play. The more it comes out, the more depressed I get. But sometimes, I just get depressed. Lately, it’s been bad. Especially with the start of school. Elias should have been starting first grade two weeks ago.

Were it not for my surviving kids, I’m not so sure I’d be here today.