Years of struggles with depression, where talk therapies, light and dark therapies (not magick, literal use of light and darkness), SSRIs, SNRIs, Mood stabilizers (all meds since becoming a mom), trying to address a moderate to severe case of appeared to be obstructive sleep apnea (but may actually be central-nervous system), plus the seemingly endless but hardly clean chute that is perimenopause is taking its toll. It has gotten to the point now where typing is my safest communications method.
Typing, especially in a buffer, allows for edits. Yanks, esp, for all you emacs people. I can sit, look at the sentence and say, “No, I think I will regret both saying that and leaving a bit trail.” I wish I could type to my kids, but my buffer is shot in the face-to-face stuff.
I have never shied away from talking to my children about things in our world, but at levels they can understand and handle. My depression, which clearly has a sleep-disorder component, is something I’ve told my son about this way: Mom has trouble sleeping. She doesn’t get the deep sleep you get, because different parts of her body and brain want to do different things. Her body, especially her mouth and throat, want to just relax and have a “California stretch” (something he learned at soccer camp, which is basically laying down sprawled on the ground and approaching napdom). But when they do that, they block the airway, and she doesn’t breathe. Sometimes it lasts for a second, many times it lasts for more than 30 seconds. And every time her body stops breathing, her brain has to wake up her body, so she never gets sleep. And a brain that doesn’t get sleep doesn’t work well. A brain that doesn’t work well gets irritable, and sad. So we have to find a way to get Mom’s brain and body to work together, as a team.
But no sleep, no peace. No buffer. No high road, just the chute. No reserves, and few opportunities to fashion them from the remnants of what I have to get through the day, mentally. CPAP to sinus infections to BiPAP to more sinus infections and swallowing air to the point of abdominal distention resembling me at 28w pregnant. Losing 20 pounds in three months through the first real exercise program I ever took on, and still, my airway would collapse while I was upright and awake. One year later, the MRI revealed all sorts of obstructions in my nose and throat, so we went in and did a complete airway overhaul. It’s three months since the surgery, and my husband still hears me gasping for air in the night, and I can barely get out of bed. Not surprisingly, the quality of my communications have plummeted. It’s no fun to be me, and perhaps even less fun to be around me.
As a result, I have found myself less and less open to realtime conversation, even if I like the person. The typing is safer, less volatile. The way I get around it with the kids, if I can pull it together, is to read stories to them, complete with dramatis personæ, and drift off together to sleep. That there is a way for them to know I love them, and that it somehow has to do with how perfectly they fit in the crook of my arm or curled up under it; for this I am so grateful, I would consider revisiting the whole virgin birth business and saying, “Okay, I guess I can’t disprove it.” But obviously, this doesn’t work all the time.
I’ve had to write news like this, only with much more detail, to two different people over the past month. I didn’t want them to think I was ignoring them, or that I had a bee in my bonnet – of course, I do, but it has a different name. The advice I am getting now, to reflect on different stages of my life and write them down is exactly what I have done in my stronger, struggling times, and is precisely what I am terrified of doing now. I read the simple questions in a thoughtful book, or the gentle alto comments of my counselor, and there it is – all that I know are problems, and how they seep into me like so many toxins in the groundwater. The guilt of knowing I’m responsible for the spread, and not knowing if any of the correction in which I’ve engaged from literally the first waking moments of my firstborn will take. As much for his (and his sister’s) lives as for the record I will leave behind. Pretty small person, hm? I never thought I was proud, but I am, insofar as I would not want to look back on what I have done in my life and felt embarrassed or ashamed.
The typing, again, is easier. The talking, and the physical writing, what I did for decades before now, is what I feel incapable of doing – my supplest, longest-lived pleasures, those of voice and story, of my voice and story, and I can’t bring myself to say or write what is there.