Been a minute

It’s been a minute since I’ve published anything. I’ve been writing, just not posting. Some of my writing is too heavy and might worry people in my life so I don’t share it.  I also work in an environment where every word I say is scrutinized or shared and usually twisted. So I have to regulate myself.  

It’s amazing how age and experience can open your eyes to things you have dealt or struggled with your  whole life. My topic of “struggle” today is depression. I’ve been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Moderate. What does that even mean?

I guess it means different things for different people. For me, depression comes in waves. I can go weeks with a good attitude, no napping all day, hitting the gym, staying on top of paperwork, being patient to my kids. Then a bad day or few days will hit. When I get out of it, it is like starting all over. I can’t just pick up where I left off. Then after another undetermined amount of time, I lose it again. It’s a cycle on it’s own time line that I can’t predict.

I still function and get the important things done, like pick up my kids from school. Feed them. Mostly cereal or pb&j, but damn, that’s food!! But these days are filled with guilt over not getting things done. Like walking right by the overwhelming clutter in my house. 

 You know it’s bad when you kick on the heat for the first time in a year, the house immediately fills with smoke, setting off all your smoke detectors, and you refuse to call 911 because you don’t want the firefighters to see your messy house.

 Do I like these days of being so overwhelmed I don’t even start? Or being unmotivated to do anything I used to love doing? Or slacking in the wife and parent departments?  Hell no. But how do you snap out of it?

Not too long ago I realized I didn’t give a damn….I didn’t give a damn about anything. Nothing phased me. I walked around in the strangest, neutral state. To be honest….it was awesome! I didn’t give a crap about what people thought. I didn’t care what I said. And I let some people know what I was really thinking. It felt great!! 

But when you don’t give a damn about anything, even joy doesn’t exist. And that was a problem.

So I found some joy and some motivation after going to a psychiatrist, Marie Beasley, at Riverview Psychiatry. She added Welbutrin to my “cocktail”. It helps your endorphins, unlike Prozac, which is for cortisol. So it helped even me out. 

I highly suggest if you choose to take anti-depressants, that you seek guidance from a professional….a psychiatrist. Not your OBGYN, your family practitioner, your dentist. A psychiatrist. 

Marie put what my medication was doing in easy terms for me to comprehend. Trust me, when you are a lost ball in high weeds it is imperative to have a professional give you easy-to-follow instructions to help you begin to feel better enough to chop down the weeds.

Seeing a counselor is also a great idea. I lucked out and found Linda Graham who specializes in trauma, traumatic stress, etc. Traumatic stress is a constant in the emergency services whether you run a bad call in a shift or not. You are always waiting for it. I found myself assuming the worst and not engaging with anyone because of the anticipation that something bad would happen. 

I still correlate good things and bad things. For some reason it seems that every time something good happens, something bad is right around the corner. But I’m getting better at seeing these things for what they really are. Just life. Linda is helping me with that as well.

I just want to share some of my experience with depression in hopes that someone will read this and come to some sort of realization about themselves. I hope it is a positive realization and motivation to get help or help others.

Functioning with depression, even major depression, is possible. You just have to see it in yourself and own it. Only then will you accept the idea of help for it.

If you are in the Chattanooga area and need help, please consider the following:

Parent failure

Parenting is hard a hell. And it is nothing like I thought it would be. I grew up with a mother who watched what we ate because she knew it had a HUGE impact on how we felt and acted. And that was back in the mid-70s until, at least, the early 90s. Back when kids weren’t “diagnosed” with anything except being an asshole.
When I had kids I fully believed I could be like my mother. A parent who makes meals and has plenty of food in the pantry. A parent who is cautious about what their kids are consuming. A parent who has breakfast, lunch, and dinner already made. 

But HELL no. I’m no where near being anything like my mother. I failed that years ago. 

People will say that it’s my work schedule and just how times have changed. But I know deep down it is because I gave up. I quit doing what I know is best for my kids because it is just easier. I’m gone 24 hours at a time and my ideas about food and how they influence behavior are stupid. And that’s just that. It was a constant battle and I gave up. 

Like I usually do, I made some dinner tonight. They have snacked all day because that is how we do it. But dinner is usually a meat and some vegetables. I fix it, they eat it. Just not together at a table. Tonight I got it started and what did they do? They at dinner with their little neighborhood buddy while they were next door. 

As much as I wanted certain things, they just haven’t been established and probably never will be. It’s impossible when there are two opposing forces in a home along with everything else that life throws your way.

I realize my kids will survive. I understand that they won’t be totally warped by the lack of a solid routine and dinner at the table. But damn it would be nice. 

Reality bites

​My great friend, Beth, told me yesterday to try and start putting some positive thinking in my head and maybe that would help. 

I swear I’m trying. But it’s 0720 and I’m already thinkin’ that “positive” just ain’t happenin’ today. “Realistic” is where I’m at. Reality is what we are exposed to every time we work.

Last shift we easily could have been blown up when workers hit a 4″ gas main right next to the court house….where a majority of the clients take smoke breaks. I managed to piss off some court officers, several citizens, and a judge. They had no idea what kind of situation we were in. I told them all to Google “natural gas explosion”. Reality is, that shit’s no joke and it only takes one spark. There may have been 10 sparks that happen before the one who blows us to kingdom come. 

This morning I heard about a 4 month old child died while in a hot-as-hell vehicle ALL DAY. The only positives of that situation was I wasn’t physically there and the other two toddlers with her survived. His little body was 110 degrees and he had gnats around his nose when our firefighters got to him. Reality is that people suck and we want to beat the shit out of them but can’t.

I had a fire investigation case, that I will someday blog about, where a mother killed her kids. Those sweet babies never got justice. The DA at the time was a sissy. That case has been reviewed 4 more time and no one but me has the balls to run with it. But because my title isn’t “homicide detective” I’m not allowed. Reality is sometimes you just have to accept what won’t ever happen.

I have a friend who is THE most positive human being I know. She is such a bright light of happiness and hope. She’s only 38 years old and she’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer.  Only a couple of months after being diagnosed she was bald and had a double mastectomy…yet is still the fun and loving woman. Reality is that cancer is a random beast that can kill. But it always kills way of life. 

Then there was the “natural mama” who spent all of her time making sure her kids got nothing but the cleanest and purest form of anything that touched or went into their bodies. A tractor-trailer slammed into her mini-van and they were dead within seconds. Reality is that those kids probably never got to enjoy a sip of Coca-Cola or Kool-aid and they died anyways. (This is not meant to be slam against natural mamas!! They are awesome and should be proud of their efforts to keep their families as healthy as possible!)

I could go on and on and on with examples of reality. I have way too many.

I do try every day to see the positive in things. Positive and good does exist!! There is incredible reality that brings nothing but pure joy. 

That joy is what you should cling to.