Mr. Beet and I spent two weeks over the Holidays on a super fun road trip. We headed from Orlando to Indianapolis where we spent our first night in Nashville. Though I had been to Nashville before, I loved revisiting the infamous Music Row. We even had a private tour of an old studio Patsy Cline used to record her music in. We went to a Purdue Basketball game in Indiana, before heading over to New York City for New Years. We then headed back toward Florida, and along the way got our picture taken under the chocolate kiss streetlamps in Hershey, PA.
It was when we arrived home that my world began to fall apart. We arrived home to the delight of three angel kitties, but two days later I was in an Veterinary Emergency Room being told that my young 5-year old calico bestie had no readable blood pressure and she was slipping into a seizure. Shocked and in disbelief I had to make a one second decision to just end her pain. Luckily, Mr. Beet and our beloved pet nanny Shirlene were there with me. My poor little angel was crying with pain and I had never felt so helpless. All I could do was hold her little paw and comfort her as her precious little life ended. It was over so quick, two months later I am still not OK. The only thing that has kept me from curling up into a pile of blankets and never leaving my bed is my trust. My trust in God. My trust is strong. Why he would take a young 5-year old away from me I can’t understand, but I trust his plan.
Our grief was compounded not even a month later when my seemingly healthy 16-year little man Sully began to deteriorate quite quickly. It again became a sudden decision as he was just miserable. He had not eaten in days, had lost 2 lbs. over a matter of two days (he was less than 6 lbs. to start), and was so dehydrated you could make out the outline of his bones and organs. Sully had come down with an upper respitory infection and developed a cyst on his tongue that prevented him from eating. He became so weak he could not hold his head up. I took him to the vet to simply cure him of his sneezing and within one day he had turned into nothing but fur and bones. Another blow, another loss.
Depression has started creeping in.
For those of you who don’t have animals, this may sound so overly dramatic, especially in today’s age of conflict and war. People lose people all the time. Our entire world is turbulent but everyone’s grief is different. I am in no way claiming my grief is as deep as a Mother who lost a child. I do not know what that feels like. I just know how deep my grief is. But those that have beloved animals know how unsettling the loss of a pet is. I spontaneously bawl at the site of Sully’s beloved tiger tail toy. I cannot get rid of it despite the fact it is ratty and frayed. It was his favorite toy- the toy he would drag around the house like he was conquering the world. His toy for 16 years. I can’t look at my shoes without picturing Lenore taking a nap on top of them- her favorite place to sleep. She loved smelling all the outside smells my shoes brought into HER house.
Depression is something I do not handle well. Depression is a great reason for me to fall back on old coping habits. Old coping habits that do not make things any better today than they did back in the day. Old habits that have landed me in lots of trouble. Old habits that have ruined friendships, family relationships, and financial security. Lucky for me I have never found myself on the wrong end of a jail cell, how that happened I will never be sure.
As the days have passed I continued to blog. I wrote up my recipes, spent time planning an epic trip out west, and continued to “train” for my upcoming tri-athalon. In other words, anyone reading the blog would never know that after Sully left me I have struggled to get out of bed. I have struggled to eat. I have struggled to put on that happy face and leave the house.
So now let’s add one more factor into the mix. Ladies, it’s time. It’s that time. Not that time of the month, but that time of womanhood. The M word. Yikes. I have spent a week in bed, physically unable to leave my bedroom. Headaches, cramping and depression that got worse when I thought it could not get any worse. I had to cancel events, a race, meetings with friends and spent a week watching The Facts of Life reruns and <gasp> reality TV. Now the depression is getting real serious as is the physical pain. Some women can fly through this stage in their life. Some women don’t and have to make very drastic changes, both physically and mentally.
And no, before you ask, I am not that old. But women who do not have children tend to begin this stage in life early, some as early as 35 (and no, I am not that young, but close. )Oh dear blog readers, hold on tight as you are in for a wild ride. And let’s take a moment to think about Mr. Beet, and the wild ride he is going to be on with me. Poor guy.
I spent a lot of time on the internet – figuring out what to do. One thing depression does is cloud your judgment and thoughts, just like drinking a bottle of wine does. (A magnum bottle, not one of those little 3 glass bottles, am I right?) Nothing I was reading felt real. Nothing I was reading was doable. Get out of the house I read. Yes, but that requires getting out of bed and showering. Praying to God seems so useless. I know He is with me and cries when I cry, but praying isn’t going to miraculously make me hop out my bed and meet friends for lunch. Besides, my headache has been so bad I am positive I have a tumor. Just let me spend my last days in bed.
So one thing has helped me and my hope in sharing my story is that someone else can be helped. Another blogger friend of mine (**see note below) wrote an amazing post on her website about depression and blogging. And I think she opened up an amazing awareness of depression and blogging. About the perfect world we project to others. About how readers just think our lives are so perfect because we don’t write about raw emotions. And she put herself out there. So I am putting myself out there. And I hope others will put themselves out there. Bloggers do not have perfect lives. Just because our Instagram feeds are filled with happy joyous pictures of us sitting on the beach with a perfect plate of food in front of us does not mean we are enjoying the moment. We hurt just like everybody else.
I am also not claiming that every blogger has a deep dark pain they are masking. And some people are just naturally happy people. But naturally happy does not mean painless. People think bloggers live our entire lives in a little bubble with perfect food that we just magically threw together, or we jet set across the country to spend a week vacationing…again. We post ourselves smiling by a famous landmark, or holding a margarita by the pool..and we look happy. Just know that happiness isn’t always what we are feeling. But that also doesn’t mean that our happiness is fake. And not everybody is in a sad place in their lives. This just happens to be a sad time for me at the moment.
So that’s all I have to say. I have not brought myself to mention losing my angel kittens on the blog up to this point. And I never thought I would talk about menopause in the midst of Brussels sprouts recipes. Not until I have spent a week in bed ill, both physically and mentally. Yes, I am mentally ill. That is what depression is. But I showered today, so that’s a start.
I am lucky though. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a very supportive and amazing family, I also know what is not an option. I know that I am not the only woman in the world to experience death, menopause and depression. But maybe if just one person can relate, they can feel a little bit better. Let’s party. I will bring the grape juice.
**Please take a moment to read my friend Christie’s post on her blog Raising Whasians. She has been my inspiration for writing this. –> What Depression Really Looks Like from Christie at Raising Whasians.