I’ve been pretty open on social media about my struggles with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and trying to maintain functional enough to ensure my husband and children have all that they need. Often, stuff like writing, artwork, and other freelance work gets put to the side in favor of things that take greater priority. Recently, I had to humble myself hard and ask for help from my friends just to be able to feed my children. My bank account had hit negative numbers thanks to a surprise charge, so I was beyond broke when I needed money most. My friends came through in a big way, and I was able to buy food, diapers, and other things my children needed.
I’ve also had to file for bankruptcy for the second time in my life. It’s just one more thing in the constant trauma I’ve been experiencing over the past few years. From the house fire, to the trauma of giving birth to (and nearly losing) Anemone, losing my job, losing my central eyesight in my right eye, losing my ability to enjoy reading, gaming, and using electronic devices like I used to…it’s been a lot. Add to that chronic pain and the anxiety and depression that were already present, and I’m a mess. I still manage to keep the kids clean and fed and wearing clean clothes, though, so that’s progress. I also wouldn’t be embarrassed to have someone come over and see the house as it is now, even though I would probably keep them from looking in my office/storage room.
I am doing my best to carve out time to write and make art, though it feels as if I don’t deserve that time because there is so much that still needs doing every day. I also play Wurm Online to help give myself a little respite from the real world. It doesn’t require that I have perfect vision, though it is a bit frustrating when I click on the wrong command. I’ve made friends from all over the world in my time playing Wurm, and after a hiatus, I came back to build a deed that resembles my dream hobby farm. It even has the name I wanted to use for my farm–Tranquility Base.
Additionally, my husband and I are doing our best to incorporate more exercise in our daily lives. The pandemic and stress caused us to gain weight, and while I can’t speak for my husband, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m doing my best to choose nutritionally dense foods and sensible portions, but I also have trouble making myself drink enough water, and I’m constantly exhausted from my medications and from having to wake up in the night when one of my children is having trouble staying asleep. I feel like I do as much as I do through the grace of God and the miracle of caffeine.
A few days ago, I made lists of what I love about Michael and what I love about Samantha (I would have made one for Anemone, but she can’t read). I had a dream that I made that list for Michael, and I felt like I needed to make it for him. I also made one for Sam because she is going through a rough time, and I wanted to remind her that she is loved and has lots of amazing qualities that make her special. Michael was pleased by the spontaneous gesture…then he challenged me to make a list of what I love about myself.
Dear Reader, I still haven’t made that list.
I don’t even know where to start.
Even with the medications I take to keep myself marginally functional, I’m still struggling to see what there is to love about me. Maybe it’s the strong lessons that were hammered into me as a child that I was worth less than nothing because I was a girl. Maybe it was the teachings that to love anything about yourself was vanity and a sin. Maybe it’s the self-hatred I carry for every mistake I’ve ever made in my life. Maybe it’s because society says I am ugly and useless.
And maybe it’s just depression that refuses to abate no matter how much therapy and medication I throw at it. Again, it just makes things more manageable and helps me be somewhat functional.
I don’t know what it is or how to fight it…but by God, I’ll do my best to dig deep and rebuild myself.
Maybe then the list about me won’t be so hard to make.