So….some news. 

So I am coming here to write, to reach out, to set out into the universe and the world what is swirling around my brain. I don’t currently have people I can really talk to about this. “This” is the news of my 6 year old having depression , possibly bipolar, definitely a lot of anxiety. We are taking him to the doctor tomorrow morning. I’m going to go in first and tell the doctors everything has been going on for months. Then I assume he will want to talk to Anders himself and then do tests to rule out a physical cause for the anxiety, lethargy, sadness, irritability, meltdowns. He has been cycling, weeks of okay happiness and then weeks of misery. I can’t help but feel guilty , my genes caused this, maybe even being around me when I’m depressed or sick from my lupus or fibromyalgia and he feels the need to take care of me. He doesn’t have to, but he loves me and wants to help me, wants to be there for me and he really doesn’t do much more than just cuddle or maybe get me a drink, but I suppose the idea weighs on little minds. 

I was a depressed child, on and off, I remember fantasizing about dieing in 3rd grade, wishing the bus I was in would wreck and I’d be the only death. When puberty hit, it went from off and on to deep down misery all of the time. I don’t know what to do. I mean I do and I am doing what I know I should do, take him to the doctor, get him help. 

My mom knows and said she really felt he needed to go to the doctor after seeing his sadness this past weekend, but she is dealing with her own things right now and I just don’t feel like I can discuss it with her, We just don’t. My best friend, she is pregnant and so busy and so stressed and I just feel like she doesn’t have the time and I don’t want to put this weight on her. Basically I feel alone and don’t have anybody to say “one of the worst things that could happen has happened.” My son got my disease  And I am not mentally and physically prepared and definitely financially in an awful place. I am so depressed right now because of our financial situation, because of thing after thing falling through, from my pain, from my genes, from my  relationship with my husband is incredibly strained because of everything. 

It’s not fair, he is  too young. I know it’s not cancer, I know it’s not 8 billion other things that technically are worse. But this feels similar to someone telling me has cancer. If he had cancer he’d have more choices and I would have more support, it’s a bad thing in a different way. People don’t blame the parents of kids with cancer for their disease, but people blame parents of kids with psychological issues all the time. We even blame ourselves, we run through every moment we said the wrong thing or perhaps weren’t supportive enough. This is something he could have for the rest of his life, he is hurting so much and he doesn’t understand why. 
I feel alone. We are moving in the next week (it’s not a choice, we have to) we have barely enough to do it. I mean we sold our tv and I have pawned every valuable piece of jewelry I have except my engagement and wedding band. Neither of which would get much anyway. There have been times the last month when I wasn’t sure how I’d feed my children that night, but I always scrounged something up, ramen, rice, scalloped potatoes, or asked my parents for money. We are 3 months behind on our car payment. I can’t work because I’m too sick. My husband has a job . They didn’t pay him for the first three weeks of training by a shitty technicality. He is slowly picking up sales and looking for other jobs but right now It’s not enough. We are trying so hard. 

It’s just a lot. And my baby is hurting and I can’t help him, I can’t fix it, and I wouldn’t wish depression or severe anxiety on anyone, especially a child. 

Just think of my family , send out some hope and love on behalf of our struggles.  We all have our struggles and I am so grateful for the good things in my life. I want that to be known. This isn’t the end and i am trying to stay positive. I just need some compassion right now. We all do sometimes. 

In other things….

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Pray to the moon 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/opinion/brooks-the-art-of-presence.html?_r=0

I read this really amazing article (above)  about being there for people after they have had a trauma. It is called “The Art of Presence.”  There was mention about unwarranted optimism and the dangers of using religion to explain everything.   You know the lines.

 “God has a plan!” 

“Everything happens for a reason!”

 “there is a purpose to this!”  

*shutters* 

I have always despised those clichés, especially when going through a rough spot they have a tendency to make me fighting mad. When I had my miscarriage in November my friend said “that it was probably for the best and that it was just a part of God’s plan.” People tell me that I need to just trust Gods plan when it comes to my depression and anxiety or my fibromyalgia. 

Nope. Nope. Nope. What a cruel god you believe in if you feel he tortures his people to have them prove faith or strength. The world is random. Sometimes biological mechanisms fail and we have miscarriages and we grow tumors or our immune systems turn against us. Viruses and bacteria invade and tear us down. These things are not acts of God, these things are acts of living on this earth, with these bodies, with these fellow occupants. These are billions of years in the making. It unfortunately makes them hurt no less…not really.

“Theology is a grounding in ultimate hope, not a formula book to explain away each individual event.” 

I don’t believe in God but I can’t deny that kind of beauty. That is what theology  is all about. 

Ultimate Hope

It’s just stunning to me. Let it comfort you, but not blind you. We so often want someone or something to blame. For it to make sense. I think sometimes our greatest fear would be that it is very simple, and random and there is no greater “sense” to it.  

This all being said, I find myself in an incredibly spiritual place mentally at the moment. It is probably because I am in need of some ‘ultimate hope’ and connection and some forgiveness. When I feel this way I pray to the moon and paint the stars. It sounds weird and it’s not because I think the moon is a god or anything. It’s just….like Van Gogh said,

 “It does me good to do difficult things. It does not prevent me from having a terrible need of, shall I say the word – of religion – then I go outside in the night to paint the stars and I dream ever of a picture like this with a group of lively figures of our pals.”

Just make it to the next second.

9:30 am

I am so tired.

Was my first thought this morning. 

Anders my oldest puked last night and then promptly fell asleep. My husband takes him to school and so deemed this morning he was still too sick to go to school. My 2 year old woke me up at 9:30. I was sicker than yesterday and instantly felt it. I got us all orange dreamsicles for breakfast and told Anders he needed to go to school because he seemed to feel better. We are already getting letters about truancy because he has been so sick this year. So I ate my dreamsicle and packed us up. 

That makes it sound easy. 

It wasn’t. 

There was dressing and redressing and I only got the two year old to leave the house by threatening to leave him alone, so he finally  came running after us. 

I got to school and took Anders in. The secretary asked why he was late and I said he had been sick last night but seemed okay now. She asked if I wanted him to see the nurse. “Yeah, that would be great. I would feel better about it.” And I would. I hate not knowing whether to send them to school or not. The nurse saw him quickly and said he had a very red throat and flushed cheeks and could have strep. She recommended him staying home if I was able to let him. I wanted to cry in that moment, I suddenly felt so tired and wanted to say “I could have just stayed home! But you people are threatening to put me in jail because he is sick!” But I didn’t. 

She must have seen my anguish, or just that I, too, felt like falling over, because she said “He is so sweet. You just want to squeeze him, you just can’t help but love him.” 

I smiled and touched his hair. “Yeah I’m always squeezing you aren’t I? ” 

He smiled his sweet silly grin and nodded. She said “you are so lucky.” 

I don’t know if she says that to everybody, but a lot of adults say that about Anders. He has a sweet heart, he is a lover, and it’s nice to hear. 

Deep breathe. I am so lucky. Deep breathe. 

We went back to the car, I called my husband on the way to the grocery store to tell him about Anders and apologize for being mean about letting him stay home. It was a short trip, the shortest I could make it. 

{Bread, ice cream,broccoli, edamame, cat food. }

But I still felt like I was going to fall over by the end of it. 

I thought about driving through to get food but I just wanted my bed. 

At home I quickly made peanut butter sandwiches and bananas for the boys. I turned on Netflix and took my own bowl of cereal into my room. 

I texted my husband and apologized for the house being a mess and that I wasn’t going to be able to clean it. It wasn’t really an apology for him, he doesn’t care. It was an apology to myself and to the kids for having to watch tv all day and our dogs that aren’t gonna be walked for awhile. I know he will say it’s okay and to rest. I turn over and pull my comforter up. I see a Popsicle stick and a huge wet, orange spot in my comforter. I instantly realize that my 2 year olds dreamsicle had disappeared rather quickly earlier. He had sat it down on my bed and it had melted. I moved the comforter so the wet part wouldn’t be touching me and tried to rest until the Animal Mechanicals episode is over. 

11:57 am

Mountain Lady

When I was a teenager I used to have this idea that I would one day, probably in my 50s or 60s,move to a small house on a mountain. I’d have dogs and maybe a horse or two. I’d go into town every week to buy what I needed. I would be mysterious, and infamous in that way that old people living alone, that keep to themselves are. The towns people would speculate at my life, telling made up stories and guesses over coffee and pie. I would drop hints here and there in small conversation, enough to get them wondering. 

My house would be filled with books, bookshelves–floor to ceiling. I’d have my Tibetan prayer flags around the porch, along with the wind chimes and stained glass lanterns. I imagine my house wouldn’t be much different than it is now. Probably just cleaner without the kids. In this story I never had kids. I had great loves and a career but after one too many heartbreaks from the world I had bid ado to its cruelties and built my peace in a small house filled with books and dogs and love on the side of a mountain. I’d live out my days there among my poetry and stories and I would be happy. 

It’s a beautiful story that reveals a truth about me. That I have always felt alone and that I knew I would eventually tire of dealing with the world and trying to connect with people that were never going to understand me, so my house on the mountain would be my resting place. I’d have to be able to say I tried though so I couldn’t run off right away. I’d have to make love and have sex and make money and lose it and make it back or not…..but look for peace in the world And when I didn’t find it, like I knew I wouldn’t, I would head home.  

But now I have children and a husband. My story is already much different. I still feel lonely, I still get overwhelmed by the world, but these relationships have taught me the peace in laughter and a kiss or a hug. 

I figure I will still end up on the side of a mountain somewhere eventually. Perhaps I just will have grandchildren to read my stories to and I won’t always go into town alone, but with my husband.  

Hope so at Least. 

Love love love 

God’s Oldest and Truest Friend 

I read a book once called The Life of God (as told by himself) by Franco Ferrucci. I never finished it but I liked it. It was a God I could get behind, the kind of story perhaps I could believe…but I knew it was just a story.

 I’m not a religious person, I don’t really think that there is an almighty being, but I believe in universal right and wrongs, kindness, being genuine and that we all have our own energy. I don’t think religion is all bad, I think it helps people on the long walk home and in the end, As Ram Dass says, that is all we are really doing….just walking each other home. In the book God says that his first friend was the jellyfish. He floated beside him in the vast oceans on an earth that would be hardly recognizable as the one we know now. 

700 million years is at least how old they are…

and it seems everything has changed, but them. 

This birth date also gives them the title of oldest multi-organ animal on the planet. If there were an animal up for God’s first friend I would say it’s definitely the jellyfish…..Gods oldest and truest friend. 

It’s silly, but ever since I read that page in the book my heart has softened to jellyfish. I, too, see them as old friends. Some part of me knew some part of them somewhere among the primordial ooze and then later, sometime before my ancient, evolutionary ancestors ever went on land, we swam together. My ancestors went on land and theirs stayed in the rolling seas. I imagine we made silent goodbyes when we realized what was happening or maybe we just drifted apart (so very typical of jellyfish I imagine.)

Anyways, that’s why I want a jellyfish tattoo, because when I look down at my arm I can remember that we are all just walking each other home. We are just all very, very, old friends. 

Love. Love. Love. 

Ciera Haynes-Brodowski  

**If you want to learn more about Jellyfish read this cool article:**

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/07/science/07jellyfish.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

**And the drawings of Ernst Haeckel: **



A Letter to my husband

Now that my sweet man has read this I figured I would post it.
Happy Valentine’s Day folks!!

To Viktor, my love, on this Valentine s Day….

I am sure you’ve heard talk of the 7 year itch before. Supposedly when two people have been together for 7 years they begin to grow apart, and their eyes start to wonder to “better” things. It may be true for some people, but if you ask me, year 7 was the year we truly fell in love.

Now, before you think “I always loved you! What are you saying?!” Hear me out.

We came together when I was 18 and you were 23 years young. That year before our meeting was easily the worst year of my life. I lost my best friend, I was in an awful relationship with a boy that tore me down to nothing, I was lost, tired and raw when I came running to Asheville. You were at the end of your divorce, you had lost everything. You were drinking too much and playing a part that definitely wasn’t you. I’ve always said that when we got together we proceeded to sew each other up, patching wounds, showing each other love we didn’t know existed in this world.

I loved you from the beginning.

I just knew you were going to change my life.

We were wild and reckless and looking back on it, I am surprised we never self destructed. But I think we were always connected at our cores, in a way that even wild fire can’t destroy. It was always us against the world, and I have never felt safer than by your side.

You were so sweet. I smile thinking of it now. When you sent me sunflowers for Valentine’s Day and we hadn’t even been together two weeks. I didn’t even know men like you existed. I didn’t know how to be loved so I balked at your kindness. You just smiled and held my hand. I sanded down your rough edges and taught you to be kind to everyone not just me. I would like to think I taught you to pick your battles in this world. You taught me about patience and that touch doesn’t always have to hurt.

Then we had our silly Anders and you moved with me to Kentucky, and you did everything you could to make sure we were taking care of. I remember thinking…”he really isn’t leaving, he really is going to stay with me.”
And our love continued to grow and of course we had our tribulations, bad days and good but in retrospect I would say we had the easy kind of love then, shallow roots.

When your mom passed you pulled away from me and it’s taken awhile to bring you back. This past year we were tested in a multitude of ways. But I think that instead of shying away from each other like we had before and waiting until the storm passes and the weather became sunny again, We jumped into that storm and sailed the ship together. We chose each other over and over in love, every, single, day. We cried and we held each other together. We really listened when the other person spoke and we gave gifts and surprises from the heart. We didn’t just live in our love hoping it would be enough to see us through like we had always done before, but we fortified it making sure it would be. We were no longer passive lovers, but fierce warriors for our love.

So I would like to say thank you for helping make year 7 the year we fell deeper in love rather than the year we fell apart. Love seems too small a word, with too loose a meaning, for how I feel. Especially on Valentine’s Day sometimes, it can lose its meaning. There’s To Cherish, to relish, intoxicating, consuming, steady, strong………with all the energy and dedication of the moving ocean tides,consistently kissing the land, sometimes with ferocity, sometimes tenderly, but always….always and forever.

So here is to ocean tides and moon light and year 8…

Love, love, love.

Ciera

Holy Weekends Batman

This weekend has been long.

Friday I took the last Effexor I had. I knew that I had to get a refill that day or else go into withdraw. I would have just called my doctor earlier that week but the staff kicked me out of his practice because of too many no call no shows. (( Apparently they did this in October, but didn’t tell me until I called to make an appointment 2 weeks ago and when I mentioned my doctor had been refilling my meds she said, “oh he probably doesn’t know.” )) Not to mention the Effexor hadn’t really been working anyway for a couple months. I had spent Tuesday-Thursday night up late in the deep dark hole of depression or waking up on and off an anxiety filled mess dreading the morning. So my brother took the boys to West Virginia with him to visit my mom for the weekend which allowed me and my husband to go sit at the emergency psychiatric hospital’s ER from 7-1 am.

Now, I don’t know if you all have ever experienced a place like this but it was intense. The guards, the glass between you and the registrar, keys to unlock every door, you even got locked in the bathroom and somebody had to let you out. They first do an assessment with a nurse, she asked if I had been feeling suicidal and I said yes because that was the truth. Because I said yes they had to put me in the locked, secure area while I waited. Which Kind of terrified me. I have never been in a situation like that and I understand the concern and the protocol but i do think it was a little over the top for my situation. So I was taken through locked doors, strip searched (!!), changed into tan scrubs, and given a blanket. I felt like a prisoner and was really scared at the possibility of having to stay there. I will say as mortifying and terrifying as it was the nurses and staff were incredibly nice and comforting. The nurse even let my husband come back and let us sit in a room off the hall together so I wouldn’t be alone for hours with nothing to do but watch whatever was on TV in the adult in patient lobby. Visitors are allowed but they aren’t suppose to be there for hours like that, so she really was being accommodating and understanding. We played 20 questions and rock, paper, scissors. I don’t know what I would have done without him.

I think that hospital inpatient stays are awesome and a great resource, but being in that situation by myself made me worse. Even when my husband was there, it was all I could do to hold myself together. The nervous counting I do skyrocketed, i was suddenly really paranoid and anxiety ridden. I am 100% sure that being forced to stay in a facility would (at least at this point in my life) make Things worse. Anyways, at midnight I saw the psychiatrist. We talked , he upped my Effexor dosage and set me free. I will say I wasn’t completely honest because I was so scared of being stuck there. But he gave me some resources.

Saturday I slept really late, dealt with insurance problems with my medicine but finally got it.

Today, though, was nice. We had lots of good moments over the whole weekend but it was also just really stressful. I am so glad the boys were at my moms. They got to have a fun, awesome weekend and I got to fix myself.

I can’t say I’m feeling a lot better but I suppose I am getting there.

This is a picture of me and my husband from today’s adventure.

IMG_0254