Unbroken – A Follow-Up Poem

(This is a follow-up to my poem “Broken” from February, a prompted writing by my counselor. It’s not going to win any awards, but if you read Broken, you may be interested to read this.)

Unbroken

Broken as a child
by your hands,
I have spent my lifetime
reeling in the waves
and trying to patch myself up,
trying not to sink,
I thought I was unable
to be enough
for anyone,
not even me.

What I didn’t know:
my body is a self-healing vessel,
and though scar tissue
doesn’t always heal just right
to allow for full movement,
those scars held me together
and have their own special beauty.

Now I come to my life
bearing gifts from my
once-broken body:
high sensitivity,
strong empathy,
clarity of insight.
Gifts that I thought
were horrible flaws,
flaws that I thought
were ugly scars,
from a once-cracked,
but not broken,
body.

It’s a gift to see
beyond the scars,
to see inside
the grey walls of my mind,
and I see that
there are places in me
that you couldn’t reach,
there are things
that you couldn’t break in me
and colors
that you couldn’t take from me.

I can build a rainbow
of color in my mind,
a mosaic from
the million pieces of me.
I can be loving
and I can be loved,
I can laugh,
I can feel
and I can be kind,
I can learn
and I can adapt,
I can forgive
and I can move on,
I can be enough
for anyone,
even me.

(c) Sandi Adams
10.24.2013


That Girl

That girl,
she wears her wounds
like battle armor,
stained with mortality.

The world,
it comes through
in black and white,
crisp with righteousness.

That pain,
it is as familiar
as breathing,
decadent with bitterness.

Her living fortress,
promising protection,
is overwhelmed by shadows.

She dreams in archetypes,
in fear and despair,
the hunted and the hemorrhaging,
she always fails before the dawn.

And letting go
is as unthinkable
as the gift of forgiveness,
a deep crevasse with no end.

(c) Sandi Adams

03.28.2013


Broken

When
I was a girl
I was broken
by your hand.
Was it like
breaking a daisy?
The ones that grew
up the street,
that I gathered up
in my arms,
but never made it
home intact.

I watched you
break me
from lowered eyelashes,
they swept my cheeks.
Never make a
sudden move,
never show that
I am here.
But it’s true,
I was not there.

My mind
taken flight,
hidden
in the tombstones
in the little graveyard
I bravely walked by,
every day.
Fresh new flowers bunched
here and here on the grass.
The dead flowers,
windswept, broken,
cried out to me.

And there,
there was my tombstone,
In my house,
in my bed,
in my fear.
The fear, so reliable,
the one thing
I can always count on.
The flight from
the center to the shadows.

I was broken
in a way that
only a child could see.
I too am a child
since the night that
I took my first flight,
lashes sweeping my cheeks,
frozen in fear.
Loving parents, nearby,
saw nothing,
heard nothing,
did nothing.
There was
no broken glass,
in that soft turn
of the door handle.

Saw nothing,
heard nothing,
did nothing,
failed to see me
breaking
a little more
every time,
over time,
frozen in time,
like the graveyard flowers
dried from the crisp night air,
breaking apart into
a million little pieces
of me.

 

(c) Sandi Adams
02.14.2013


What we see as victory

What I see: on a bad day, getting out of bed, getting dressed, going to work., these are major victorys!
What the rest of the world sees: I’m late, I’m lazy, I’m irresponsible. I think the rules don’t apply to me.

Every minute past the deadline hour that I don’t get out of bed, I am perfectly aware of how much worse my situation is getting. Now I’m anxious on top of depressed. The anxiety increases in some strange algorithm the longer it gets. I start thinking of lies I can tell to excuse my lateness or at least explain it away, without having to say “I couldn’t get out of bed”. Or really, I couldn’t stop getting back into bed. I got up several times… bathroom, take the dogs out, get some water. Each time, my brain says “get in the shower, get dressed!” and each time, my emotional self says no, and crawls back under the covers.

In the end today, I got up 1/2 hour past the time I should have been at work, so I got there 1 hour late. I didn’t tell any inane lies about it, just apologized and said I was having some problems this morning. I didn’t offer details and for once wasn’t asked for any.

I really wish I could just “wish” this stuff away, just decide to be happy, and be motivated. The real world doesn’t work like that though, at least not for me. A quote making the rounds on facebook “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be” by Abraham Lincoln. That sounds really good. Seems profound, seems …. “doable”. Doesn’t seem to take into account chemical depression. I’m not unhappy. I probably have an enviable life in many ways. I’m just depressed in a way that doesn’t take happiness or lack thereof into account. We need another word for this. Maybe there is one. It’s almost closer to inertia really.

Taking it One Day At A Time, even if the rest of the world expects more.


ironic

Ironically, a month after my last post about suicide prevention day, another person in my life tried to commit suicide, without me noticing the signs. Each time, someone who lives in my home with me. These kids are tremendously skilled at covering up their feelings.


Suicide Awareness Day, 2012

DEPRESSION LIES! Depression is a lying rat bastard… hard to ignore, but never trust it!
:: Today is Suicide Awareness Day, 2012. ::

If you feel hopeless and alone, remember that people love you, even when *you* don’t believe it, and they would be devastated to lose you. I’m still here based on that one bit of knowledge. (And my puppies. I think Dylan would be lost without me.)

And because I came *so close* to losing someone I love most dearly to that lying jerk, and I realized the pain that caused everyone around her. I know now that I couldn’t do that to the people that love me. Sitting with her at the hospital waiting to find out if she would live was terrifying.

And because my asshole stepfather killed himself and took his dog with him, and even though I hated him, I cried for days (possibly more for his selfishness in shooting the dog though, I’ll admit) upon hearing the news.

And because there are beautiful days around the corner, that you can’t see ahead of time. Keep your eyes open!

Learn the warning signs of suicide. http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/SuicideWarningSigns.aspx
If YOU or someone you know is thinking about it, mentioning it, showing signs: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.

Thanks for your attention.


Letter To My 15-Year-Old Daughter

Letter To My 15-Year-Old Daughter

no one in authority understands you
or wants to know who you really are
or thinks you can handle things
and/or be responsible

…i thought these things too
and we are/were probably frequently right
but maybe not always
maybe not when the chips were down
maybe we are not as alone as we think

you think i am some “ultra-christian-woman
who thinks you are a dangerous teenager”
but labels are more dangerous than you or i could ever be
and when we label each other
we stop seeing what’s on the inside
and i care about what’s on the inside of you

i care that you can hear me
without your label getting in the way
i am not who you think i am
and maybe you don’t know me at all

i grew up poor
with an alcoholic stepfather
and parental neglect
and sexual abuse
and being smart was my ticket out
and boys were my ticket to love and acceptance
and man i was so addicted to their love
i gave them everything i had
and they tore me apart in my
“love me love me” need

i acted out the part of the good girl
and got away with murder
and lied to everyone
and the house of cards got taller
and taller
but sooner or later, that house falls
and the debris is heavier than you’d think

i live the consequences of my choices
and i am grateful that i got out alive
and able to love someone worthy…
and though i might now thank God,
i once laughed at people like me
and called them foolish pawns,
smarter than that, i’d saved myself
(i’m a fucking genius baby!)

i see the potential of your choices
all the possible futures ranging out before you
and want to grab some of the good ones
to toss like rose petals in your path
and i want to take those bad ones
and hurl them far away

but instead i watch helpless
because you can’t hear me
behind what you think i’m saying
and who you think i am

my experience is worthless to you
can you hear me?

(c) Sandi Adams
2004


New Meds

New meds are definitely helping, and I’ve only been taking them a week! That doesn’t seem possible, but the difference is more than noticeable, and definitely wasn’t happening without them. I have mixed feelings about having to take another medication, was really hoping that regular exercise, good nutrition, enough sleep, and therapy might make enough of a difference to drop that second medication, but 3 months of only one medication was enough to show me that it’s not gonna happen right now. Maybe when I’m not trying to work full time and go to school in the evenings. I was so overwhelmed, crying constantly, on the verge of an anxiety attack at all times, so I’ll take this right now. It was really needed. I’m so thankful that it’s working already too… amazing! I’m nervous about the side effects, but I guess it’s better to be alive with some annoying side effects, than to be dead because I couldn’t handle life.


No Gold Stars?

DISCLAIMER: This is a depressing post, about depression. It is not addressed at anyone particularly. It is just me sharing my experience. If you don’t feel like reading it, I totally get that! Please feel free to skip it.

One of the most frustrating things about going through a clinical depression episode is that people get frustrated with me for all the things I’m doing wrong, at a time when I feel like I should be being applauded and given gold stars for making it out of bed at all.

Also, getting dressed, making it to work, paying attention to other people that I am in relationship with, going to school, doing homework, feeding myself and my animals and doing any of the other things that are expected of an adult, all feel so close to impossible, yet are mostly getting done.  I try to wear a smile and still be pleasant and kind.

I get that those things are expected.
I get that it’s frustrating for other people when I don’t do them “right”.
I get that no one will be cheering when I actually make myself do them.
I get that no one else can see that I’m actually wildly succeeding at life at these times.

It’s just really hard to feel and hear other people’s disappointment with me at a time when I’m already beating myself up for “failing at life”.  (I’m late to work a lot during these times, I agree that is a problem. But you know, I made it!! C’mon! Gold star!)

I’m seeing a professional, I’m getting help, I don’t need an intervention. Some of you may be in relationship with people that suffer with episodes of depression, maybe it will help to read this. Maybe not.


Life is Short, Eat Dessert First?

A funny story, but also a question at the end.

So when I went to see my mom last week, I saw that her Lean Cuisine dinner (she’ll only eat that for dinner, and only one kind) was sitting on the counter with a cover over it, but getting cold. I suggested that maybe she should try to eat it while it was still warm, or I could re-heat it for her. She nodded and moved it to the table, put the cover back on it, and walked away.

OK…. picking my battles, I moved on.

We went to go sit and watch The Sound of Music (her daily show), that was already on when I got there, and she picked up the half gallon of ice cream sitting there. I said “Oh! Dessert before dinner! Good idea!” with a smile, and she said “Well, I saw there was still some left in here and I thought I’d better finish it off.” I said “Oh, well, you’re an adult, enjoy! How much was left?” “Ohhhhh, about half.”

Me internally: !!!!!!!!!! half!!!!!!!!????

So we sit there watching the movie as she scoops mouthful after mouthful of ice cream in, and I start hearing these heavy sighs or “ooof”s. I look over at her and she is looking down at the ice cream container with some apparent consternation. I said “Mom, you don’t have to finish it off, it’s okay, we can just put it back in the freezer.” She said “no, no!” I couldn’t decide if she wanted it or felt she *had* to finish it.

Her Depression Era childhood says to finish all food and not throw anything away, and her lack of memory lets her forget her dinner completely.

Finally I said I had to get going but suggested that she put the ice cream away if she was full and not to skip dinner completely. I just couldn’t watch her doing that anymore. I mean, I’ve been known to eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting before, but not when I’m clearly TIRED OF IT!

I felt a little helpless. What would you have done?