Posts Tagged ‘pressure’

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Saying goodbye to the biggest piece of my heart.

October 15, 2015

i’ve talked before about how i believe the world works the way it is supposed to.

i’m having more than a little trouble understanding it at the moment. i know we aren’t always going to understand- and it may take time to see the big picture. But quite honestly, at this moment in time, i don’t want a big picture, i don’t want the future to come with answers, all i want is to turn back time.

September 12 was one of the worst days of my life. And i am trying to constantly remind myself of the year and a half of magic that led up to that day.

You see, 2013 was a year of ginormous changes in my life. They were good changes but hard ones. They happened in a way that i wasn’t emotionally prepared for and the depression monster became my closest frienemy. But in December of that year while i was struggling to make it through each day i learned that there might be a light in my future in the form of an emotional support animal.

i have always had a connection with animals- dogs especially. Growing up in the household i did my dogs were my protectors, my confidantes, and the greatest source of love. In college i had a pet fish who died, some friends wanted to know what would make me feel better as i sobbed. All i wanted was my dog. They couldn’t give me this so they went and bought me one of those electronic dogs that was so popular for a bit.

i spoke with my doctor, she agreed this was a good plan and something that would help me. And at some point in January of 2014, i started seriously looking at Petfinder to see who was out there. i saw so many faces and stories that touched my heart and then one night i stopped. i saw a face looking at me and i knew. i knew with no doubt i had found the answer i had been looking for.

On January 14 i drove about an hour and a half, it had snowed recently. Usually i am terrified to drive on slippery roads, i’ll avoid it at all costs but it felt like the middle of summer to me that day. When i pulled up to the shelter my heart was pounding in my ears, my mouth felt dry. i was anxious and excited. i started panicking that someone had come for her earlier that morning.

i walked in and let them know which dog i was there to see and the woman said, “Are you sure?” She went on to tell me how this dog was too wild for all the people who had come for her before. How she had been at the shelter for over 6 months- had had a major surgery. She finally let me know she would bring her out and i could see what i thought, she had a look of doubt and amusement on her face. Like she knew once i saw this animal i would turn around and walk out the door.

They brought her out and she jumped up to sniff me, i sat on the ground and she crawled into my lap, rolled on her back and looked up like she were saying, “rub my tummy and let’s go home.” And that’s what we did.

In the car she was nervous at first, she didn’t want to explore anything but the floor of the passenger’s seat. And then i started singing along with my music. She crawled up to the seat and started licking my face, she would stop and stare when a song changed and when i started singing more kisses. She started watching the other cars on the road- she loved them. Even when we stopped to pick her up some new treats and toys she wanted to stay in the parking lot and just watch the cars driving.

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The next day i gave her a bath and she fell asleep in my arms while drying off. i knew that this was the best relationship i had ever opened the door to.

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My Maguire was named after Robin Williams’ character in Good Will Hunting. Those of you who have read my previous posts know how much that movie means to me. Sean Maguire says things that hit my brain in ways other words have never been able to. And since she was my emotional support dog she was like a little therapist herself. i thought it was fitting.

The difference in my well being was astronomical. There are so many people who can tell you this. Not only did i have someone constantly beside me to face whatever demons crawled into my head but i had someone there who i knew i had to be there for. i had to get up each day to get food and water and trips outside. i couldn’t hide away the way i could before.

When i tore my ACL Maguire would greet me like normal but when it came time to snuggle she would rest with her head on my knee like she was protecting it from anything else happening. We practiced jumping through a hula hoop while i was recovering from surgery so she would still get exercise and fun while i wasn’t able to do as much.

She loved her aunties. One day one of them came to visit and i kept trying to do other things so Maguire would spend time with her. It wasn’t until i sat down and she was able to fully greet me and make sure i was okay that she went and crawled into someone else’s lap.

She refused to sleep without touching me. In the winter she was under the blankets curled up right next to me and in the summer when she got warm, she would stretch her paws so they were touching part of me and then fall asleep.

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To say i was in love would be an understatement. My heart has never been filled with the love and magical-ness of anything like this before. At my college reunion people commented about her in the same way i asked and commented about their children. i was so proud. My Girl Scouts would ask to see pictures. And almost everyone i ran into at work mentioned her. She was my world, my light, my heart.

So when i got home on September 12, i didn’t know that my world was going to change. Maguire greeted me like always- we had our mom just got home from work talk and snuggle in her chair and then came to snuggle more in bed. About an hour or so later everything changed. i knew something was wrong, i thought maybe she had a tummy bug. We went to the vet and by the time we arrived she had gotten even worse. After way to much time waiting and running tests they suggested i take her to the emergency vet. We sped out there to find that no one had any answers. She was deteriorating more and more and i was trying to be strong but i couldn’t stop crying. We decided to try a course of treatment and see what happened. A few hours later i got a call telling me that she had only gotten worse. The doctor said she had never seen anything like it in a dog. Whatever was happening was in her brain and it wasn’t stopping. My heart was breaking- i’ve never felt anything like it. And i said yes when she asked if i wanted to stop her suffering. i drove out in a blur of tears and they brought her in on a table, she couldn’t walk anymore, she was blind in one eye. She was trying to dig into the air as they put her on the ground and told me i could have as much time with her as i wanted. i curled up next to her and started talking while the tears poured out. Her paws stopped and rested on my tummy. i apologized to her for the day and for anything else i might have done to cause her suffering like this. i told her how much i loved her over and over and over again. i gave her kisses and i hid my face in her neck and sobbed while begging her not to leave me. i don’t know how long i was there- it never would have been enough time. i got up to get the doctor and she started digging again. The doctor came in and i curled up next to her again and held her while the shot was injected. i held her after. i didn’t know if i was going to be able to let go.

And now there is nothing. No clicking of nails on the wood floor. No protective barking when the neighbors get loud. Everywhere i look is a reminder. And all i can think is, why? Why her? Why me? Why in that way?  Because as whiny and cliche as it sounds, it isn’t fair. And the truth is, i need her. i still need her so much.

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Sometimes i have a good day, or hour, or few minutes, and then something reminds me and i can feel my heart being torn all over again. It never stops hurting.

Some people don’t understand, to them she was a dog. She wasn’t a dog to me. She was everything. You don’t ask someone who has lost a spouse or a child if they are going to go find a new one but they ask me that. i can’t look at a picture of any dog without making comparisons to Maguire or cursing it for not being her right now- i know that in time my heart will be open again but right now it is grieving and i don’t know when my next step in that process is.

It’s taken a few times sitting in front of this screen to be able to get this far. It has been a daily struggle to deal with the world and my own brain. i don’t have a pair of paws jumping onto my tummy in the morning to force me out of bed. i don’t have eyes looking at me or a body getting comfy on my head when i want to reach for a sharp object. And thus far i’ve been able to avoid those objects but i worry about how long that will last.

i’ve been shutting the world out, shutting people out. It isn’t so much that i want to be alone, though that is the only way i know how to put words to it. It is more like none of the world is Maguire and i don’t know how to talk about everything very well yet. All the words and the emotions feel like mush and i don’t know how to take that mush and turn it into a conversation or a moment in time with another being.

i’ve talked in the past about fighting this monster- there is a part of me, right now, that thinks. . . what’s the point? Because the things and people i love all just go away. Everybody leaves, my heart is always going to be crushed over and over and over again. So why try and fight? Why ask for help when i’m just going to end up alone anyway?

i’m lucky to have people in my life who don’t let me listen to that very long. But it’s a struggle. It’s hard work to fight while you feel so defeated. And hard to push through when you don’t see anything at the end to be fighting for. No amount of hard work or fight will bring Maguire back.

So i struggle, every single day. And this along with my fucking uterus has made for one of the most mentally and physically painful months that i can remember. i’ve been trying to take each day one moment at a time- that’s all i can do right now. Grief takes time. Our society doesn’t allow for that. We hear time and time again that you can take as much time as you need, and that in time things will feel better but there is no magic Delorean out there providing this time for us. We are expected to take that time around the schedule of everyone else- grieve as long as you want, as long as you don’t miss work and perform to normal standards. Grieve in your way, as long as you are still a functioning member of society. The pressure is enormous and makes my head want to explode.

i’m not saying this to call out any particular person or group. But it is hard enough to deal with mental health bullshit every single day. There are still so many taboos and fears. When you add a traumatic experience on top and are made to feel like those things don’t matter- that you just aren’t strong enough or trying hard enough it’s a recipe for disaster. i know this, i’ve eaten disaster more times than i’d like to remember.

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i’ve taken some steps to get help through all this and i’m trying to be proud of myself for that. i know Maguire would be.

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trying to write through the really big and the really little.

August 17, 2014

When i was younger there was a bread factory in town that you could take tours at. We went for school and for Girl Scouts. My favorite part of that tour was at the end when they gave each of us our very own miniature loaf of bread. i would take mine to my grandma and she would slice it up and make miniature sandwiches for me.

 

i like miniature things. They feel so easy to conquer. i could put a whole sandwich in my mouth like a giant and think nothing of it. They don’t seem so scary or make me feel so vulnerable. 

 

But right now i keep looking around inside my head and everything seems humongous. The darkness does a great job of covering all of it. And the anxiety likes to form paths. But i just want to stop. Not move. Not talk. Not think. Not be. 

 

My voice feels pointless when everything towers over me. A tiny squeak even i can barely hear. My brain, which is me, but doesn’t feel connected right now keeps rattling off all the things i should have said and done and worn and read and not said and not done. It compiles a list of each imperfection and an explanation of how that will cause failure at some point. 

 

i don’t know if it is a success to look at pictures of scars rather than to create more of my own. Nothing is right right now. 

 

i want to feel like a giant in my head again. i want to eat miniature sandwiches and find words that make noises. i want to just sleep.

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If my brain leaves track A at 9pm going a million mph and my thoughts leave track B at 9:05pm going 47.5 mph, what will my fingers type?

May 13, 2013

i took AP Calculus in high school. i am not a fan of math stuff. When i think back at the decision to take that class it makes my head spin a little. Don’t get me wrong, i got through the class just fine, it wasn’t that i couldn’t do it. The thing that gets me is that the decision to take the class was based on, like so many high school decisions, if it would help me get into college. Four years of math looks better than the two required to graduate. Continuing with advanced math classes looks much better than coasting through a normal level math for your senior year. For some time now that decision has left a sort of bad taste in my mouth. i had a great teacher and a lot of fun studying with friends in the class but i do wish that i would have been pushed to challenge myself in ways that truly interested me. i wish i hadn’t had, or at least felt that i had, to be so focused on certain classes and activities just to get where i wanted to be in life.

A lot of us are raised thinking that the only way to be successful is to leave high school and then go right to college. For me that was the right thing to do but i know for a lot of people it isn’t. College is definitely a time that you can use to find yourself but it’s also a really expensive, time consuming, and exhausting way of doing it. i don’t think it is worth going to college directly out of high school if you don’t feel ready or you really have no clue what direction you want to go in life. There’s always a chance that you will find that direction at school but more often i see people just settling on a major and a career path so they can be done. Then some time down the road they don’t feel satisfied and have to deal with all the what ifs in their head.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we changed our view of academic success to more of a picture that includes a variety of people who are truly passionate about what they are doing and are completely committed to it? i don’t know why this isn’t more appealing than campuses filled with students who have been in school for years and years because they don’t really know what they want or graduating with regrets about the path they chose.

And wouldn’t it be even better if we could start that even sooner? If we could study things that we are truly passionate about and challenge ourselves in subjects that fascinate us in high school and middle school rather than to simply focus on a grade point average and the classes listed on our transcripts. i don’t mean that we should cut out other classes all together but it would have been great for me to take the math classes that would help me get through life and then move on to extra reading and writing classes.

i don’t know. i’m just thinking out loud because i realized that while i didn’t especially like my AP Calculus class or any of my math classes, when i went to College for Kids my first summer i chose to take a math type class. i was so excited when i read the description and i loved every moment of the class. Rather than being “normal” math stuff it was about patterns and problem solving involving those patterns. My brain works like that. It finds patterns and makes links and i feel better when things are put together the way they are supposed to be. i would have happily challenged myself in those ways for a high school math class but that was not only not an option but also wouldn’t have been looked at as a “real” math class. So instead of offering a class that would have challenged me and that i would have worked really hard at i felt that i HAD to take a class that i had absolutely no interest in and put the least amount of work possible into. That doesn’t seem like the way we should want our educations to be.

That was not at all what i expected to come out when i started typing but it did and i’m okay with that. It’s nice letting my brain just flow sometimes. i need to try to stop all the constant over-thinking and let it just do its thing more.