The World Is Full of Suffering

The World Is Full of Suffering

I am blessed/cursed with a heart that feels everything.

ASPCA commercials make me want to run down to the pound and adopt all the dogs and cats, even though my husband is allergic to the felines. When someone tells me about a local pregnant teen, I want to find her and comfort her as I fear she isn’t being supported in the ways that truly matter. Homelessness. Poverty. Death to drug addiction; drug addiction in general. Suicidal ideation.

All of it makes my heart spill over. I want to fix the world.

I cannot. Some problems are based in cycles and systemic issues that won’t magically be solved just because Jenna stepped up to some proverbial plate. Some people don’t want help. Some people will actively work against your attempts to help others.

I get it. There have been (too many) times in which I haven’t wanted help either. Sometimes it’s easier to live in your own personal, mostly self-created hell than to say, “I want this to change,” than to actively do something about it. I refused and waited out this most recent diagnosis and med change because, wait for it, I didn’t want to “gain weight with a new medication.” Yeah. That’s right. I chose to live every day—for months on end—with my first thought being, “I want to die. I want to kill myself,” simply because I didn’t want to gain a few pounds.

Even thought admitting that seems silly and fucking selfish as hell, the feeling at the time was enough to keep me from telling my therapist what was really going on, from telling my Meds Doc that, no, current medications weren’t keeping me from wanting to kill myself. A few people knew, but even then, I tried to play it off as something minor.

“I’m just struggling.”
“It will pass.”
“I’m fine.”

If you ever hear me say, “I’m fine,” let me be the first to tell you, I’m not fine. Not at all.

The good news is that someone finally got through to me, meaning my husband, and I took the hard steps of actively seeking an answer to the depression that would not quit. The new diagnosis initially shook me. “Treatment Resistant? Am I stuck like this forever?” I’m not. I just need to work harder with the medical professionals in my life to find the appropriate answers.

And while the world is full of suffering, as Helen Keller said, “it is also full of overcoming it.”

I don’t know why my brain doesn’t work quite right. I don’t know why I get stuck in Major Depressive episodes. I know that adoption grief and loss, sexual trauma, and a few other things poke and prod. I diligently work on these issues, but the depression, for now, persists. I don’t know why my anxiety will stick at a manageable level for a lengthy period of time and then sky-rocket to astronomical, I-can’t-do-this levels. I know that adoption grief and loss, sexual trauma, trust issues, fear of failure-slash-perfectionism all come into play. I work on these things, too. But I can be sitting, cozy and warm on the couch on an idle Tuesday and be absolutely run down by sudden anxiety. Out of nowhere.

I don’t know why certain segments of our society feel more akin to hate than to love. I don’t know why people abuse or neglect animals. I cannot, for the life of me, as a birth mother or just a simple human being, understand why other human beings neglect or abuse children. I don’t know what possesses someone to rape another. I don’t know why some people feel superior to others, thus making others feel inferior, based on the color of their skin. Or whom they love. Or how they identify. Or whatthefuckever. Or, I know some of these things, but I cannot make good sense of them in 2017.

I do know this: Despite the hate, the racism, the xenophobia, the misogyny, the desperate need to be better than somebody else for whatever reason, the world is full of people who are overcoming the suffering others put them through on a daily basis.

Right now, I’m having trouble being awake enough to function. It’s a side effect of a medication my Meds Doc put me on in hopes that I would stop waking up with the desire to kill myself. I am thankful for those in my life who understand that this is a hard, dark time in my life and that I’m actively trying to work my way through it. I want to be me again; I want to be Jenna again. I’ve been fighting and trying and pushing and surrendering and failing and wishing and hoping and praying and working my way toward what I hope will help me feel like me again. It’s not happening in the time frame that I would prefer, but I am slowly learning to trust the process. To take any progress, however small, as a complete and utter win.

I am slowly working myself back to me. I know so many other people who are doing the same thing, right now, in this very moment. We are resilient. We will make it through this. You know what I mean.

The World Is Full of Suffering

We will overcome. Stay the course. Trust the process. Keep doing what you have to do. I will stand with you in all of it.

 

Shop LuLaRoe

Deep Thoughts on Snow Day Four

Snow Day Four.

We slept in. They played video games while I did some work. We went to play with friends. Hit the library. Ate one of their favorite meals for dinner. Read books. I, personally, answered a billion and one questions.

Like, “If a blind person opens their eyes under water, does it still hurt?”

I’ve never, ever thought of that. My youngest son is always, always thinking. I think he’s fantastic.

Snow Day Four doesn’t hurt too much.

I figured they’d at least have a delay if not an entire Snow Day. I kind of wanted the full Snow Day because I wanted an excuse to be lazy. A lazy day with my boys and my dogs and some carbs, because we all need carbs in the winter. It’s how we survive, really.

And then I asked the older of the two boys to take the first, but younger, dog outside to do her business. He didn’t watch her. He didn’t know if she did her business. I was in the process of making dinner. I felt a little frustrated.

So I yelled.

I really don’t like yelling. I would rather avoid yelling. I want to talk about things, teach from a place of calm. Yelling scares me, so I know it has the potential to affect my boys in negative ways too.

My son went off to his room, on his own. I continued stirring homemade alfredo sauce, trying to time noodles and broccoli to end up cooked, but not over- or under-cooked all at the same time. He came out, cheeks and eyes red and swollen with tears.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

I took him into my arms, my chin resting on the top of his head.

“I know, buddy. But this is what Daddy and I have been talking about: responsibility, paying attention, being present. This is part of growing up and gaining more independence. It just comes with more responsibility. I love you. Always.”

He nodded. He went and got the book he picked at the library and sat at the dining room table to read while I finished up dinner. He helped set the table. He helped feed the dogs after we finished dinner. Everything went fine for the rest of the evening.

Much like I want my sons to know that one mistake is not the end of the world, I need to model that in my parenting. I sent my husband a text about how negatively I felt about myself for yelling. But if I expect my sons to rebound from supposed or surmised mistakes, shouldn’t I also do the same? Shouldn’t I also give myself the grace I afford them? Shouldn’t I work harder to forgive myself?

My therapist wants me to bring a picture of my 22-year-old—and pregnant—self to my next appointment in two weeks. I’m supposed to talk to myself, tell myself the reasons I’m still angry with that young, scared, very, very alone little mama. Because it’s true: I hold anger with absolutely no one else as to how everything happened. Except me. I’m so very angry with myself.

Today a friend related a story of a mutual friend’s unplanned pregnancy. She shared how she supported her friend through each step of the process. My heart welled up.

“I just needed you,” I said as I walked out the door, heading off to the library with the boys.
“I know.”

It is my goal to someday forgive myself. I know—I know—I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time. I repeat that to myself regularly. My therapist said the same thing at my last appointment. The tricky part is getting to the point of forgiveness, of letting it all go.

Because if I’m no longer mad at myself, what’s left?