Falling Apart, Blogging in Place

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve written here. For some people, this would be an indicator that they were being wildly productive elsewhere. For me, it runs parallel to everything else in my life. So I return, disorganized and unkempt, my decompensation complete after a year of crises.

canstockphoto8316983I woke up two weeks ago feeling as if every joint in my body was inflamed. My hands were stiff and painful. There was stabbing nerve pain in my knees. I walked as if I were 82, not 52. It sent me into a depression. After so long of keeping a stiff upper lip, of caregiving, and chauffeuring and tracking down medical research and working hard to make sure everyone in my circle was cared for, fed, loved, paid attention to over the last year, my body and brain said enough already.

Writing stopped altogether. I buried myself in books, frequent naps, and long stares into space. I walked a lot and when my feet hurt and my eyes stung from the cold, I walked some more. I slowly unraveled the strands of my depression. It’s February in Minnesota. I consider it the worst month – 4 months of winter behind, 2-4 months ahead. As I’ve written about numerous times, this last year was situational hell with medical crises and family losses. And menopause has got me in its grip – miserable and unpredictable. So, there are reasons.

canstockphoto29330425.jpgIn this Instagram marketing world, there’s a temptation to wait until everything can be repackaged into a neat story, complete with a moral and pics to prove it. But sometimes the only way to find one’s way through the story is to write about it, to just start telling it. We’re in love with stories of redemption and miracle outcomes, but those are movies and reality shows and late night commercials, not life. Life continues in all its uneven messiness, where the best victories are slivers of light – moments when we are able to exhale.

Things are quiet now. My daughter’s health is stable and we have a month or so before the next battery of tests. I’ve got a long list of self-care things I must do to regain my health and sense of purpose. I approach everything the same way (which can sometimes be an issue): Make a list of problems I’m trying to solve, do research, break it down to concrete steps, line up resources, and start walking the plan.

It’s time to exhale.

39 thoughts on “Falling Apart, Blogging in Place

  1. I have thought about you several times in the past few weeks – knowing that you were going through hell and hoping that your silence didn’t mean that something terrible had happened. I’m still suspicious of how sometimes I feel a sense of kinship with someone I’ve never met, and it seems presumptuous to assume we might be friends if we met in person. Probably most of this is because I’m in my 70’s and not sure I trust this “virtual world,” but there it is. Your writing is always gutsy, honest and “what you see is what you get.” I admire and aspire to do that as well. And, please, whine any time you feel like it. You’ve earned it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel a degree of responsibility to people who read this blog in the sense that I would also wonder, if someone dropped off the radar in the midst of a crisis, if something awful happened. It’s part of the reason I dragged myself to the keyboard today.

      I think in the early days of the internet, I might have mocked virtual connections, but over the last 8 years, I’ve made friends and care about the people I interact with online. If I were dating or looking somewhere to invest money, I’d be more leery. There is something to be said for trying to represent oneself authentically, warts and all – it does tend to open the door to more genuine connections.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Cate – it does feel like I’m just trying to drop a postcard to everyone. “Still here.” Fortunately the massive amount of reading I’ve done has refilled my reservoir of blog subjects that aren’t all about me and my achy joints! Now to write them…


  2. Good to hear from you. I have been thinking of you, hoping your absence meant nothing more than you were just taking a rest from blogging. Glad you can finally exhale. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Upright is good Michelle. And don’t regret being absent. It’s not like you’ve had nothing else going on — even though selfishly I’m glad you’re back because I love how and what you write.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Something that moves me from the book you recamended:
        “Yet sometimes, when the mind is reeling in the panic of self-doubt and confusion, it is particularly difficult to come back to the heart that seeks to awaken. In these moments, how can we find the willingness to stay present with our own fears—the fears that will always limit our ability to love? When everything seems dark and unworkable, when we’ve even lost touch with the desire to move toward the light, the one thing we can do is take a deep breath into the center of the chest on the in-breath, and on the out-breath we can extend to ourselves the same warmth and compassion that we would offer to a friend or child in distress. Breathing into the heart, physically connecting with the center of our being, is a way to extend kindness to ourselves even when there appears to be no kindness in sight.”
        Sometimes simple is best for me. Thanks for the road sign.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to hear from you. Have been concerned and have been praying. When I was deep into yuck I was told: “Take care of yourself. Nobody is going to do it for you. So, take care of yourself, so you can take care of your loved ones.” I found it to be good advice and a great reminder of the “First things first” slogan. Glad to hear your daughter is stable at this point. Good things do happen, even in yuck. Sometimes we have to dig into the muck to dig out of the yuck! Sounds like you are doing just that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes a good old fashioned ‘tonic’ of the sort grandmothers used to swear by, is just the thing. Or some such equivalent. You sound run down in every way and sorrow undermines the immune system and bodily parts like nothing else. Sun on your face, if that’s remotely feasible in Feb. In any event more power to a season of replenishment and restoration and all best wishes for your daughter’s continued stability.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My sister, what a wonderful writer you are. I ‘m happy to hear that things are better for your daughter, and I hope that
    it continues. I believe that good things come to good people. I look forward to reading your next post. I wish you and your family well. Take care Michelle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This really resonated with me, especially on writing through the badness. I’m also in a mental health slump and I needed to read this. Thank you for getting it down and sharing rather than plying to the instagram life-packaging pressure. I really appreciate it. Wishing you well in making it through.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I’ve found that either writing something down or saying it out loud to someone else takes away a lot of the hold depression or any emotion has on me. It’s taken me a long time to realize this, so if it might help someone else get there a little more quickly, I’m glad. Hope you find some light soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the first post I came across after leaving my own blog behind after a year and half of absence. Just this glimpse of what you’re going through was enough to inspire. I pray that this year goes better for you and your family. I haven’t the slightest idea of whats going on but I want to say thank you for sharing and making it very very relatable. Keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m on the same boat. Life happens and sometimes difficulties can be overwhelming but you are right, you just start telling your story and you’ll find your way as you tell it. It’s good to read here again. Better days ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear you are having a tough time as well. I’ve discovered that silence and stoicism often increase the power that trauma or depression or any other unwieldy emotion has over a person. There is no innate virtue to increasing our own suffering. I hope you find ways to relieve yours. Sometimes all it takes is a small space for the light to come in.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Glad to hear your daughter’s health is stable and all the very best with everything. As you show, story can reflect the untidy nature of real life – perhaps just not the tales that our propagandist public arena seems to allow for – in this sense, story affirms identity and authenticity. Or something.


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