Happy {and Hurting...} All Over

Well, friends, you'll see some scrapbooking pictures, but I don't think I'll talk much about scrapbooking today. Today I need to write for catharsis.

I have been feeling lousy for the last few days, plus recovering from carpal tunnel release surgeries on both hands over the last month, so I haven't gotten much done, even on the blog {but I wanted to get this layout up so I can say I did something productive today--which by the way is now three (...four?) days after I started writing this post}

Some days are just harder than others, and I don't even have the energy to work on my laptop. I know, that sounds terrible. It is! It's not how I dreamed my life would turn out ten years ago, but what can you do but keep moving on? 

Excuse me for venting. That's part of how I keep Moving On  {inserting link of one of my favorite songs because it linked so perfectly, and because this song is the anthem of my soul}

So, it just so happens I'm going to be talking about depression on a post about a scrapbooking layout called "Happy." Zae is definitely my happy. Especially with our previous losses. He makes me smile every day...but here is a scary fact about depression: you can smile, you might even laugh, and in that moment you feel a spark of something wonderful {if only that feeling would last}, but depression is like Eyore's little gray cloud. It's always there, drowning out the sunshine.

{I better throw this in here before I get too carried away baring my soul: if you want to look at pretty pictures of flowers and lace, skip ahead, I won't be offended!} 

As we headed into fall, I had carpal tunnel release surgeries on both of my hands, which may have stressed out my body enough to downslide into a full-on fibro flare-up. We've had a bout of stormy weather here in Southeastern Minnesota, followed by gloomy, misty days. The kind of days when the sky is leaden and a damp chill hangs in the air. That kind of weather always seems to exacerbate the achiness of fibro and the dull, constant, drive-you-to-distraction throbbing pain where my spine was fused (maybe those titanium rods get cold?). I'd describe a flare-up as feeling like you ran a marathon and every muscle was sore, like you fell down stairs and were bruised everywhere, and like you have arthritis and the flu. {have you ever said, "My eyeballs hurt?" I wouldn't have known they could hurt before fibromyalgia} 

On these kinds of days, I {attempt to} give myself permission to kick back on the heating pad and binge marathon on Rome{or Game of Thrones if my mom's around, as we're watching them through before she heads out to Virginia to visit my sister and her family for a few months} 

I've watched Rome through already since Woolly died. It's my go-to when I'm feeling sad or lousy. I had a broken molar once over a weekend and I couldn't sleep all night I was in so much pain, so I watched Rome, which my uncle had borrowed to me, and ever since then it's my go-to when I feel lousy. 

{maybe it's all the graphic violence that has me subconsciously thinking, "Hmm...I suppose it could be worse. I could be crucified randomly in ancient Rome for any number of reasons...maybe I don't have it so bad."}

There's been a lot happening in my life right now, emotionally and physically. Physically, as stated above, I've been recovering from the CTS and dealing with a fibro-flare while trying to care for a baby who just turned one. Emotionally, that has added more to the pile that seems like it's slowly becoming a mountain. 

It seems inevitable that I suffer from depression...I want to do all these things--go pick out pumpkins from a patch, do a corn row-maze, rake up leaves and jump in them--but what I what I really want to do is curl up in bed. Preferably with some kind of magic pill that cures my throbbing shoulders, hips, and knees, the sciatic pain that never went away after three back surgeries to fix a herniated disc...

That in itself is a story that could fill an entire post. Let's just say, my doctor earned the nickname the Butcher of Guantanamo Bay. Sound ominous? It should...I'll never be the same after what he did to me. If I wasn't such a stupid shy introvert I should have talked to a lawyer. He was fired from the hospital and given some kind of reprimand on his record, but I think he still practices medicine somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico...he probably wants to trap some unfortunate Mexican who is lucky enough to make it over the border so he can perform evil experiments on them {watch out Southwest, there's a freak on the loose wearing a white coat and wielding a scalpel, somehow having convinced the world he's a doctor}

**Wild tangent alert!** 

Back on track, my point is there's a lot of daily pain, and generally not feeling good, and it's hard not living the life you want to live. I want to give Zae everything I can so he can be the best he can be. My everything on too many days is struggling to keep up with him playing in the living room.

And then of course there's losing my cat, Woolly...I am missing my best buddy so much as we head into winter. The days are getting shorter...darker. Winters here in the midwest can be brutal, and long, and bring on flare-ups with more regularity. Actually, it's just like one big, long flare up with a few good days sprinkled in when I way overdo it and race around doing all the things I haven't done. Then the next day I'm feeling even worse. It's a vicious cycle. 

{I'd move to the Southwest but there's some crazy ego-maniac wielding a scalpel pretending to be a surgeon} 

Even more troubling than the physical extremes, the emotional darkening that goes along with the darker days...a little reminder of the pain I carry around in my little invisible suitcase...the reason my shoulders are so heavy. 

February is always a hard month, and I don't really know why except that in the months after my dad died, I was in a dark place, and the winter seemed like it would never end. Cruel bitter winds whipped over the crust of ice and snow, and I couldn't see happy through the endless blizzards...

There's another song, completely different from the first one, that fits how I'm feeling right now... This one's from Miranda Lambert, called Over You.  {from a metalcore band to country, yes--I'm definitely a gemini}

Weather man said 
it's gonna snow
By now I should 
be used to the cold
shouldn't be so scary...

But you went away
How dare you?
I miss you
They say I'll be OK
But I'm not going to 
ever get over you...

I'm sure I'll talk about my dad in more depth at some point {don't ask me why I said I'm sure...I've been meaning to write about him since well before Father's Day when I wanted to have a post about him...and I've mentioned it since...but I procrastinate on touching that subject} 

Even after seven years, that wound is still raw. Especially now, when I look at my son and know he will never know the wonderful man who was my father. Who raised me to be caring and kind and to love life...as he did, even though he chose to end his. 

That sort of brings me around to what I was talking about at the beginning of this post. You can smile. You can laugh. You can wear a mask, but behind the smile there is still that unfailing...pain. 

And yet, I would publicly pronounce I'm a happy person. I have to choose to be happy. I have to work at it, to snatch up the special moments when the sun peeks through Eyore's cloud...but that isn't a cure. My soul will always be battered with wounds...some that heal as much as they can and leave their scars behind...some that will always be open.

Random insertion of scrapbooking commentary in the midst of laying my soul bare: I made this white flower with some pleated ribbon, a bit of lace, and the most beautiful pearl-studded brad. The red sparkly thing is another bit of saved Christmas decorations that I mentioned in my last post. Jarring segue? I'm getting good at those. {well, this is a scrapbooking blog after all}

{I spy a rolled rose...a drink actually sounds kind of appealing right now}
Sorry for all the whining venting. Sometimes you just have those days when everything builds up and you either collapse and assume the fetal position in bed, under the covers. {because adding to the pity-party the look of horror on your loved ones faces as they look at the puffy-eyed monster version of yourself doesn't help the situation} 

...or you spew it all out into a 500 word mixed-up jumble of "Here's a flower, isn't it pretty? I used some ribbon or something. I don't know. Maybe it was a fruit roll-up," and "My cat died and I dreamed about him and my dad last night and now I'm missing them both all over again. It's been seven years and that wound is still festering. And by the way fibromyalgia sucks, and here's a song or two because why not."

Then, after all that, you come back to reality and look at the blessings in your life, and remember that diaper rash comes with a baby...and you have a been blessed with such a great gift: baby of your own. And maybe you do feel crummy, but it's not a fatal disease. And maybe you can't sleep and the night has turned into morning, but you did something productive with your time. You have a life, and you can choose to push through it, or you can disintegrate. There's only one choice you can make.

{and apparently that was me giving myself a pep talk because as I skim over this post (I don't have a full edit in me, so excuse any grammatical errors or random words in sentences where they don't belong) I suddenly start saying "you" instead of "I"...with no real logical explanation.}

{hold up, I thought of one...It's 5:17 a.m. and I'm so tired but it's so hard to sleep when my mind follows the darker trails through the forest of my thoughts and I'm trapped in a a body that, if it found a voice, would be screaming at the top of it's voice}

Sometimes, I just wish I was a cat.

ADDENDUM: I have recently come in touch with a woman through the Miranda Lambert song link above. She had written something about loss that touched me, and we began talking a little more, and she has lost her husband, two brothers, two sisters, and her parents--all in the same year. My heart went out to her and I truly am counting my blessings today, and hugging my mom and husband and son close to me. God bless her.

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