Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mama Bean's going on a lion hunt (But she's not afraid...)

"What's going on; why are you depressed?"

It's not that there's no answer. It's just that it's... a long one. And not terribly clear to myself, so I certainly can't articulate it. I know my triggers, I know my weaknesses. I know what proximity to which persons created the right soup for the wrong mojo. So. If I don't give a neat, two-sentence answer, please don't hold it against me.

What pains me is that, naturally, I have no obvious reason to be depressed. My life is fucking fantastic, for real. I have an amazing husband, beautiful children, great job. My day to day, while exhausting, is plenty fulfilling for any normal North American - all my problems are firstworldproblems. I know.

And I suppose what pains then is the sense that I must somehow legitimize being sad. Like, behind the question all I hear is criticism: "What do you have to be sad about? Who do you think you are, being depressed? You can't really be depressed. I know people who've been depressed, and you don't seem like them." I know that's not really there (I mean, it's all friends who are asking, people who care enough to ask, so obviously, that's not there. My friends wouldn't require me to justify my mental health. Ostensibly.) But that doesn't mean an unhealthy mind won't hear it.

In many ways, there is no (word) reason (but a biological one.) Like, this is why we have serotonin fixers, this is why there are valid, beautiful chemical solutions. (There are other, less valid but still beautiful chemical solutions, but I will not be pursuing them lol.) I don't know why it happened this year, this summer, this way. It could have been any year, any season, any way. And that adds yet another layer of frustration - why did it have to be this year, this summer, this way?

I understand the drive to find a reason. I am a healthcare provider; every workday I face twenty or so people who want me to tell them why they hurt, and I don't always know. I often don't know. And that's hard (for all of us) because, without a Name, it feels harder to Fix. It's harder to find the solution, to strategize the escape route, to prepare the defenses, to know how to prevent it. If I can't even name it (wrap it up in a box with a pretty bow, this is The Why) then I can't kill it.

So here is one of the twisted mind holes of depression. I don't know why I'm depressed - Sheesh I can't even explain it - Oh God I have no right to be depressed what is wrong with me - This is so discouraging - I am so depressed - Sheesh I can't even explain it - etc.

But. I feel like I've done enough loops, I've circled close enough to the drain, that I can claim it. As in, I don't feel the need to prove, and I'm not interested in its legitimacy. This is mine, and imma wrestle it. I don't want to turn away from the pain; I am making myself go through it. Because I think I have missed a lesson on this before, and I just have to find it on the other side somehow.

I feel like this is why it's been so emotional, why there are so many tears, why there's so much profanity and anger and angst. Soooo much anger, sooooo much profanity. Much. Ask PB. It makes me really awful to be around (and that sets up another twisted mind hole, trust.) (I'm sorry, in advance, that I'm so awful to be around. It's a selfish process. I'm sorry to be selfish.) (See? Mind hole.) (But I am sorry.)

And this method still will not give me The Why, and I am comfortable with this. It will not tell me why it was this year, this summer, this way. And it won't necessarily help me prevent it from happening again. It will just spit me into After. And I have to have faith the lessons will make it easier for the next time, next season, next way. 

I have to think the thoughts I think towards my patients at myself, "Let's move on. Let's just focus on getting better. You have all the right tools, just use them" and what I say out loud "You're doing all the right stuff. It just takes time."

Love yourselves, friends, for whatever lions you're hunting. My deepest gratitude if you're gonna come hunting with me. Can't go over it, can't go under it, absolutely cannot go around it. Have to go through it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mama Bean wishes this time did not involve so much crying

The word "sad" does not even begin to describe. It is a disservice to the millions who suffer from it, let alone my own emotions, to call it sadness. Even depression cannot begin to capture. And I am so tired of it. I am so tired of trying to romanticize it, as though I enjoy this separated reality. Enjoy sitting on my couch, the mechnical buzz of fridge and dehumidifier, furnace and fish tank, so totally incongruent with the moving, bright, active world I can see outside. The wind blowing the trees, the cars scaling the hill, the people walking to school. The separation is constant; even when I walk out into that wind, scale that same hill to teach my class in a few minutes, there will still be the buzz of my mind, the incessant swirl of insecurities, the emptiness of my heart. -Deus Ex Maior Quam Is
Because this is not my first (nor second) time at the rodeo, I can indulge in (too much) analysis - compare, contrast. What's the same and familiar, because depression is an old friend at this point. What's the same but I'd forgotten, or has been amplified/changed. What's brand new...

What's the same is the separation this quote speaks of - like I'm underwater looking out through the tank walls, or being muffled under a layer of wool that makes things both dull and too bright to keep looking at (and so I turn away, into the soft numbness.) I think this is when I finally acknowledged, shit I've been bitten again, when I felt that heavy hopelessness settle in - it is very much like a buzz or drone in my, I dunno, sure why not be melodramatic? It's my blog - a drone in my very soul.

What I'd forgotten is how frustrating it is. You'd think the frustration of it would help a person, say, try to avoid this phenomenon altogether, but then, it's not that easy, is it? I forgot that, in so many ways, I am still so maddeningly functional - every day still happens, stuff still gets done, life still happens. It just happens at a distance. This is amplified by the fact I'm no longer a student - that now I absolutely must remain competent and functional for the sake of my patients, my staff, my family. And it doubles the frustration, the grief, when I somehow can't keep it up - because I don't fail at work, it's always my family that bears the brunt of my failures.

I didn't remember how much it feels like being masked, and how it feels safer to be ignored, but also hurtful to be unseen - ambivalence, I forgot the ambivalence. Hence, the dancing picture. Some days I'm happier (?) no...relieved, relieved to just give myself over, to be comforted by my old friend - because it is comforting, to just fall into seclusion and malaise. But at the same time, I know it's wrong and I shouldn't want it, and I'm tired of it, and want out. Slow underwater tortured tango.

The brand new? This time around is markedly emotional. I think previously I have just fallen into apathy and inertia. This time, I am volatile. There is a simmering anger, I feel like a volcano, like I have fucking Emotional Magma inside me under the pressure of momwifework (not always in that order) that periodically erupts. In shakes, or yelling, or slamming and throwing things, and (I don't know why this is the most disturbing one to me) sobbing uncontrollably. It is exhausting.  I recently had two friends on separate occasions remark on my patience as a parent, and I felt like such a fraud - because what looks like calm is just repression, just holding it in, until later, when it can all come out in a disgusting mess of noise and fluids.

I feel like digging down into this feelingsness is the way out, but, like, I don't want to. Even this writing process is ambivalent - I enjoy doing it, it feels like relief, but I am terrified, of receiving either pity or rejection/judgment, and also annoyed that it keeps me from my RSS, and also exhausted by it. But I'm just going to keep doing it, and keep hitting publish, because...because. This is a safe place of my own creation, and it is so vast and uncontrollable, yet I feel controlled here, in a way that my real, immediate surroundings are not controlled, are Who ever knew the internet would bring us here?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing - it's Harvest Time!

The other night we harvested our potatoes. We grew three types sold by a local greenhouse as a "gourmet mix" - Norland (red skin, white flesh) purple viking (deep purple skin, white flesh) and Alta blush (an Albertan creation, white to pink skin, and white to yellow flesh). I wouldn't say our harvest was great, only 3 or 4 potatoes per plant, and only the purple ones got large. Papa Bean dug up the plants, and laid the potatoes onto the dirt, where the kids could grab them and put them in the box.
Our harvest would have been better if we'd hilled the plants more diligently. I'd like to build some potato boxes (with layers of planks you add as the plant grows) or else just garbage bins, in the future. It's not really economical to grow them - potatoes at the store are cheap enough. They are ego boosting, though, it's hard to kill a potato plant, and beetles notwithstanding, they just make a gardener's soul happy :) I like growing the "gourmet" types, I really want to try fingerlings next year.
In the box picture, Bean's blurry arm has a blurry worm on it. We found lots of juicy-looking earthworms while digging, and the kids were well distracted by them, having little worm races on the walkway. The worms, alas, did not survive. But their sacrifice helped our sanity survive, and for that, we honour them lol.
This little Sproutlet doesn't meet much that doesn't go into her mouth - green tomatoes, ripe tomatoes, dirt, rocks, acorns, and more tomatoes... She keeps smiling, so I can't see anything wrong with it...
The Prairie Valley City in general, and our family in specific, have been blessed by an amazing apple harvest this year. We've received 50 or 60 pounds of apples from three different sources (!!!) We're going to take about 100 lbs to a local farm that presses them into fresh unpasteurized cider - we'll get about 8 or 10 gallons. Only $5.50/gallon, and they sell their own stuff for $15/gallon. The rest we'll sauce or make pie filling or something. Here's Bean learning to use our peeler. After borrowing a fancy peeler (for over a year, yikes!) I found this cheaper plastic one at Value Village for only $4, and it is awesome!
This is the tomato station in my garage, where I'm trying to sort the types. The giant ones on the left are Hawaiian pineapples, in the middle are a mix of green zebra/Bulgarians, and nyagous (black) tomatoes. Then there's the cherry bounty. At the farmer's market, those suckers sell for $3-4/pint, and I've probably eaten about 10 pints already. I love my garden :)
I have a half dozen montages like this, just enjoying the colours of the harvest. It's been a really bright, vibrant kind of year, and I like that. On the other hand, those Hungarian wax peppers (the long orange one) were waaaay too hot, luckily I thought to put them in salsa, otherwise I doubt we'd have used them. The mini brown peppers were cute, but not terribly tasty. Overall, I'm not sure we'll keep growing peppers - it's one of those rare things that don't taste as good as the store (in our experience, maybe I'm doing it wrong) and often our growing season isn't long enough for them to ripen (colour) fully anyway, plus we only get 3 or 4 per plant, which isn't necessarily economical. But maybe I'm saying that because peppers were cheap this year at the store *shrug*
This is a Hawaiian pineapple tomato sliced up. They have the most beautiful colouring, this lovely peachy orange into bright red, and the streaks go throughout. The flavour was amazing - not really like a tomato at all, just vaguely fruity and very (very) sweet. Mild, not a lot of zing or acidity. It was a pleasure to eat, and it was huge, so I basically had this for lunch haha.
Last but not least, yesterday's caprese salad, with black cherries, sweet 100s, and sun golds/sun sugars, fresh basil from my aunt's garden, and bocconcini. I cannot describe how much I enjoyed this. I used the rest of the basil to make walnut pesto (not quite as good as with pine nuts, but at $6.48/100g, I wasn't buying pine nuts) and used some of the pesto to make a balsamic vinaigrette. I also used 23 green zebra/Bulgarians to learn how to blanch and peel tomatoes (it's so easy!) and make salsa (onion, garlic, lime juice, salt/pepper/cumin, cilantro, corn, red pepper, Hungarian wax pepper, and tomatoes). And then today, I had another caprese-ish salad, with green tomatoes to add some zing (they are such bright happy tomatoes, with a lovely sweetness) and the vinaigrette. Smiling smiling smiling...

[Internal monologue: I talked a lot about money in this post, that's weird. I didn't think gardening was about money for me, but then again, we do this because we're Green Misers, environmentally minded when it costs less lol. Also, it's weird to put something some bright and cheery after serious posts about Depression, but, well, that's life!]