I Do Not Suffer from Depression

In the aftermath of the lose of Robin Williams, many have spoken up about dealing with the disease called depression.

I am not one of them.

I do not have depression. I have been depressed, but never have those feelings seemed endless, which seems to be the truly insidious thing about depression. It is not that a person is depressed. It’s that he or she can’t imagine not feeling that way. The tunnel is missing the point of light at the end that has always been there for me when I have been down. I can’t imagine that.

No, I mean I can’t imagine that.

I cannot know what that must be like because being depressed and knowing it will end is bad enough. And that, I think, is the key. I cannot understand. And it seems that what I can do to help someone with depression is more about what I shouldn’t do. I should not try to understand. I should not try to “fix” it or make suggestions on how to “fix” it. Because things like ice cream, a movie, a workout, a cry session do not fix depression like they might have fixed me when I was depressed. I can not flip a switch that will turn on their pinpoint of light to make the tunnel seem less hopeless. And so often we want an equation. If I do A + B – C and you find D + E then you will be able to enjoy life again.

I can not do. I can not understand.

I can love. I can accept. I can take what is given and not ask for more. I can understand that there is no cure, so that each small change for the better must be celebrated.

At least this seems to be the message those dealing with depression are sending. I am trying my best to listen.

Chincoteague Moments of 2014

* My son’s version of boogie boarding which is basically running away from the waves while holding a boogie board.

* The twins version of boogie boarding which borders on professional. (Yep. It exists.)

* My daughter’s ability to become a Scooby Doo “villian” called the Sand Monster who just needs to be hosed off to reveal the person within.

* I found out I am much better at drunk Trivial Pursuit than drunk Boggle.

* Apparently, just adding a unicorn horn to my phoenix tattoo would double its magic.

* Watching Jake and Dann watch The Lego Movie for the first time was better than seeing The Lego Movie the first time. “It’s like my childhood with a budget.”

* The only thing that can make seafood night better is if it is followed by grilled meat night.

* Despite this being my 19th time on the islands, I still geek out over the ponies.

* The pictures. All the pictures. Because of all the people.

* Seriously. There were enough pictures that an epic stop action video was made by Dann.

If you want to see pictures, you gotta be an approved Facebook or Instagram friend.

So Beach Family, feel free to add your moments in the comments!

A Little Person in a Dog Suit

That is what my aunt would say about dogs ad nauseam.

If that is true then, Hobbes was a grumpy old man who wore his coat all the time because he was always cold. With bat ears.

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When Hobbes made my aunt dognap rescue him from a neglectful situation, it was pretty much his master plan. He knew she would bring him to me, His Person. There was no luck or fate. There was doggy intuition and cunning that overcame every obstacle. As my aunt got to know him, she decided that maybe he wasn’t a good fit for me and my apartment as he had major separation anxiety. The howling was formidable. It was decided he would be better off at my country living mother’s house. Hobbes would hear none of that, and to obtain his goal of going home with His Person, he yanked a leash from my uncle’s hand so that he could tear through the house and into my lap. And thus the prophecy was fulfilled.

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I stopped making fun of people who called themselves Mom and Dad to the dog because this was the first step in making a family of my own. I bought a crate and an anti-barking collar because the howling when I left him was epic. I bought a special dog seat belt. I piled blankets for a dog, who having been born in Texas, abhorred the Mid-Atlantic between September and April. I hid shoes and underwear.

I loved him almost as much as he loved me. I say almost because I do not think humans can love like a dog can, with pure trust and abandon.

When he met John, he decided to love him because I loved him. And because he let him sleep in warm spots like his crotch.

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The same could not be said for the kids. They changed his life too drastically. When I was pregnant, I remember him putting his head on my lap, and then looking up at me incredulously, like he heard what was going on in there, and he couldn’t believe I had let that happen. He did not appreciate vying for my attention, and he knew that on many levels he had been downgraded. But I was still His Person, and his doggy love remained pure. I gave him what I could.

Here is what I think he thought of the situation.

Then the kids turned into petters instead of ear-pullers. They could cuddle. They were warm. They cooed to him (even if he was deaf for the last year or so.) I hope that he felt better.

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And then he didn’t. He stopped eating. He stopped moving. He just stopped.

When we made the vet appointment, we knew. I think John had accepted it more than I had.

The vet found a lump in his abdomen as we suspected she would. Dogs know when it is time. They let us know. They stop being themselves. They let go and accept far sooner than we do.

So we made the decision, and I held him until he was gone. It was the closest I have ever come to to loving him as much as he loved me.

If you don’t count the short-lived hermit crab, this is the first time the kids have had to deal with death. We talked about it a lot, about the possibilities of Heaven, that Hobbes was better off because he wasn’t sick anymore. Yes, everyone dies, but usually not for a very, very long time. Hobbes was very old for a dog.

And even though it has been a month since he passed, the giant-earred void in our lives is still there. Out of the blue, every so often, one of the kids will say, “I miss Hobbes.” I always reply, “So do I.” 10428071_10203918941835159_6118262120554082651_n

 

Fear and Transition

Here is the typical night in the Batzer house. Kids are put to bed between 8:30 and 9 PM. Some time in the wee hours, the kids stumble out of their beds into ours. Most of the time it wouldn’t even wake us up. It was the way everyone seemed to get the most sleep, so it became habit.

I will wait while whoever needs to gets their judging out of the way. (Come on, I don’t care how much we all say we don’t.)

However, the kids aren’t cute, little toddlers anymore. They are cute, big preschoolers, and they take over the bed. Too many nights, recently, John or I (mostly John) would end up sleeping in CJ’s room. So we changed the rules. When they wake up at night, for now, they may come get one of us, and we will help them get back to sleep in their rooms. Eventually, they will have to try it on their own. It’s a transition thing. You can call me a wimpy parent if you want to, but I had enough scary moments “sleeping” alone as a kid, that I can’t go the suck-it-up route.

Leila is adjusting to this pretty well. I can pretty much turn her towards her bed, tuck her in, and she is back asleep. And she is waking up less often.

CJ not so much.

At 12:45 AM last night, he came over and got me and insisted he could not fall asleep in his room. And he proved that until 3 AM. He would doze off for maybe 10 minutes or so before he was back, begging to sleep in our room. I finally laid down with him until he fell asleep around 3, and he managed to sleep until after 4 before he was back. At that point, I was too incoherent to stop him curling up next to me.

Here is were the parenting gets tough, not just by actions, but on an emotion level. Because it is hard for me to blame the kid. I still hate sleeping alone. Even when I was single, I had a dog and cat that slept with me. A big, empty bed is not appealing to me. I toss and turn. An empty house means that I fall asleep with the TV on because my imagination won’t let me sleep otherwise, especially now that the only dog in the house is deaf.

So I understand the kid’s issue. I understand that shadows can look scary and that in the dark a toy speeder bike looks like a rat. I am both impressed and frustrated by his ability to stay in that twilight sleep and not give into exhaustion.

And, yes, I know that this is partially a power play, but really it comes down to mostly fear. A fear that I fully understand.

So somehow we need to find CJ’s version of getting a pet or leaving the TV on. Neither of which will work for him as a four-year-old at the moment. He needs his comfort in the dark, and it needs to not be Mommy or Daddy.

It’s extra hard to make my kid face a fear when I share that fear. It feels slightly hypocritical even as I understand why it is necessary. I mean, most nights I don’t have to deal with it because, hello, John sleeps next to me. CJ just wants the same comfort, and that makes me feel bad even if I understand why he can’t have it.

Eventually, I know we will stumble onto the magic feather that will get CJ sleeping through the night in his own bed. I just hope it is before his parents exist completely of caffeine as we try and help him through this process.

 

Tipsy Lit Prompt – Around the Tea Table

This is my first submission for  Tipsy Lit Prompted. I hope you enjoy.

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“Drink.”

There was the rustle of linen against lace as four demitasse teacups patterned with delicate pink roses and faded green vines were put to lips and the contents of one sip of tea were consumed. The cups were places quietly back on the table, and hands were folded in laps as the ladies waited for a long moment. A slight breeze played across the veranda, making the wisteria whisper.

Then the hostess, a tall thin blonde in pale blue reached forward and spun the lazy susan around until it was dizzying to watch. She say back and let it come to a rest on its own.

Each occupant of the table perused the selections of twenty identical, white porcelain teapots.

“Missy, I believe it is your turn to choose first,” the blonde said.

A tall brunette replied, “Yes, of course, Kitty. Thank you.” She arched her neck slightly as she tried to make a choice. “I have to say that the green tea I just had was a little weak. I hope I may find something stronger and more flavorful this time.” She leaned forward and breathed in deeply, her head moving back and forth slightly as she tried to parse out the aromas.

“Oh, then, I hope you get the one I just had,” said another blonde, bonier and shorter than Kitty, who tried to make up her height with an elaborate coif. “It was a black, almost as strong as coffee.”

Missy arched an eyebrow. “Is that what you hope, Kelly?”

Behind Kelly’s smile was a smirk. “No, not really.”

The last lady at the table, raven haired and regal, spoke. “Manners, ladies.” Her eyes roved around the table. “Missy, this waiting is coming close to being rude.”

Missy’s cheeks pinked just slightly. “Yes, of course, Tabby.” She reached out her hands, paused a moment, and then chose a teapot three back and slightly to her left. Once it was down on the table in front of her, the three others were quick to make their own choices. Each then poured a small amount into their cups.

This time Missy said, “Drink.” And again, each raised a cup and swallowed a sip of tea. Before the cups were even placed back on the table, Kelly started clutching at her throat. Her breath was coming in gasps, and her lips were turning blue. Her eyes rolled back in her head, foaming spittle erupted from her mouth, and she slumped to the floor.

Missy looked down at her body and said, “If wishes were fishes, dear heart.”

“Missy,” Tabby’s admonishment rang out sharply. “Gloating is so unladylike.”

Missy bowed her head. Tabby continued, “Well, I believe it was Kelly’s turn to host next month. Since she will be somewhat indisposed, I will take her turn. Ladies,” she said as she stood, bowed her head ever so slightly and swept out the door that led back into the house.