a different thing

February 17, 2012

That kid’s song says, “it’s alright to cry,
crying gets the sad out of you”
and I always thought it might be a lie.
It doesn’t seem like it’s alright.
So I would sing it as a kid and it would
choke me up
right there at school
with no reason.

It still makes me cry to sing the crying song, especially lately because this anxiety thing is wearing out my body and I’m so damn depressed. You might be wondering why in the world I would listen to that song, but I don’t know, it just came on with the ipod on shuffle because there are a lot of kid songs on there.

It takes all I have to give

to walk over and turn the power on,
make the music start
to change the house
to keep going.

But I did the hokey pokey.

Miles watched with such intensity
waiting for me to
put my whole body in
and shake it all about.

It is very hard
but I did it
and I was thinking about Grey’s Anatomy.
I don’t even like it anymore
and I watched it anyway

because I could not seem to move.

The addict,

McDreamy’s sister

she was called fragile
and she said

I am not fragile!

this is not fragile
I am standing in a building of pills
and doing this
(a different thing)
so that is not fragile
THAT is strength.

(I paraphrase)

I feel like her when I do anything at all
This feels like Before
the way my insides are trying to escape through heart beats
and short breaths,
how Before
I would finally shut it off at night,
and I don’t want to do that
but I want to shut it off,
this painful slump, shuffling feet

Now. I tell the truth
swallow my enormous pride
I am not able
I say
I can’t.
Something is wrong but I’m not crazy.
I say
I’m just scared with no reason.

I need help, I say.

then hope comes where there was
because that’s what telling the truth does

even if it’s embarrassing like doing the hokey pokey or crying about the crying song.

my ego, she wants to just keep pretending she’s fine.

but the fatigue and pain
the drowsy blur and aching bones
the sadness and panic
the demand to shut it off
won’t allow it
and I walk over
turn up the volume
put my whole body in
put my whole body out
put my whole body in
shake it all about
(a different thing)
That is not fragile

and neither is not being able to do anything at all
it is strength to just let go and fall down
and it’s alright to cry
it might make you feel better.

I watch him watch my feet and wonder
will he always remember the way they moved
and that he had a mom that
danced with her sad
from time after time.

because I love everything
but my body is doing
(a different thing)
attacking me
and stealing.

I come out from behind the closed door
up from face to tile
I come out and smile

I put my right foot in.


I just really needed to write that and have it seen, witnessed, I guess. And now let me just go right ahead and answer some questions about it:

1. This is some major depression and anxiety stuff I’ve got going on, stuff that has increased every so quick-slow since Elsie Jane was born. It gets worse and worse. It’s gotten really bad.

2. Yes, I’m getting help. I saw a doctor and was prescribed some good ol’ meds. I just started those.

3. I also have a therapy appointment coming on up.

4. I’ve discovered that there may be a reason for this really uncomfortable spiral beyond the hormonal postpartum types of things. (Not that those aren’t bad enough.) I’ve always been prone to depression and anxiety but I’ve known for a while now that there is something beyond that going on. As soon as I learn more about it (I have another appointment on Tuesday)I’m going to share it here. I’m very grateful I’m on to something. Sometimes it just feels good to have a name for why your body is trying to keep you down because it gives you directions for the road.

5. I’m typing this while Ryan cooks and blasts Bon Iver and I’m listening to the boys play and Elsie is near me. I’m going to be okay.


tara pohlkotte February 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm

your truth, spoken brave is sheer beauty. dance in the sad, with it, away from it, in and out to the rhythm all your own. dance for we will dance softly beside you.
tara pohlkotte recently posted..Five Minute Friday: The sky lit by delight

Jayme February 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Oh lady, you are so brave. Thank you for sharing.
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Kim Van Brunt February 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Thank you for your honesty and bravery and willingness to stand up so fear sits down. Shine a light on it, sister. We’ll shine right along with you until it’s all light.
Kim Van Brunt recently posted..Weaving the darkness in

Varda (SquashedMom) February 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Love you lady: your truth-speaking and your beautiful, beautiful words. So glad you’re getting the help you need. Looking forward to the update report. (Me, I’m muddling through. First set of drugs didn’t work, made me feel worse, now I’m gun-shy, foot dragging. Will call doc on Monday, scout’s honor – see you’ve inspired me!)
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adriana willey February 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

thank you for this heather. one of the reasons i come to this place so often is your honest struggle. i see your beauty and grace even in this – especially in this – and i struggle too, so that must say something about me. i let it and i feel a reprieve from the darkness. so thank you. and strength to you as you turn on the music, dance with your children, and cook your dinners.
adriana willey recently posted..marriage letters: opposites attract

Bea_OT February 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I am glad you are doing something to get better. It’s always the hardest thing to do. It takes a while for meds to work, so I hope you get more TLC than usual to help you through the next few weeks.

I’m sure your fighting through whatever this is, is going to show your children how strong you really are. If you weren’t strong, how could you fight it?

Have a lovely, with at least a few moments of peace, kind of weekend. Sending you love and well wishes…though strangers that we are…we can wish each other solace.
Bea_OT recently posted..What baby stroke…another milestone

Molly February 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

You, my dear, are doing all the right things. I’m so proud of you. Keep on truckin’ dear. Just keep going.

Suzanne February 17, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Heather, I hope you know that you are so brave and your words here on your blog have made a huge difference. I don’t mean in a broad, save the world kind of way but in a tangible, personal way FOR ME. When you and Katherine showed up to rescue my roommate at BlogHer from her negative thoughts I listened really really really hard and I’ve held onto that encouragement and community since then. I finally worked up the courage to make my own appointment and now I’m taking medication and feeling one million percent less anxious and crazy and short-tempered. So thank you friend, always, for sharing so much of yourself. xo
Suzanne recently posted..School Daze

Ann February 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Oh Heather…thank you for sharing. Even this really hard stuff. I’m not really a prayerer but I just said a prayer for you (spontaneously, out of no where). I hope it’s helping that you have this space where you can share your pain and receive some love and thoughts and spontaneous prayers in return. You write beautifully. I went through a very deep depression and I remember the only thing I could accomplish was caring for my children. Just focusing on their needs one at a time. It really got me through (along with medication and therapy). We take care of them and they take care of us right back. It’s a beautiful thing. Be well.

kendal February 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm

i know that slow spiral
that shadow
those meds
those appointments
putting the right foot in
thank you for writing about it
for putting it into light (hope for the shadow dwellers)
kendal recently posted..writing for five minutes on delight

Kim February 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Oh Mama, I hear you. Depression is so hard, anxiety is so hard, put them together and…oh I know. Oif you need to talk, you know where I am. Love you dear friend.

Galit Breen February 18, 2012 at 12:18 am

So much love to you, my dear friend.

(I’m here. I know that your support system is BIG and STRONG, but I still want you to know that and hear it and then know it some more: I’m here.)

Galit Breen recently posted..Less, and More

DeNae February 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

Eight years. That’s how long I did that dance, Heather, before I ever heard about depression. It would be another fifteen (fifteen!) before someone told me that anxiety was treatable. But I promise you, standing on the other side of that looking glass, that you really will be all right. And this really is strength, this talking and sharing and then looking for help in the right places. My daughters will never have to suffer the way I did because I went through it first. I have answers to questions I didn’t even know to ask 24 years ago when I first became a mother. Your children are so blessed to have you to follow.
DeNae recently posted..Tell Me Who I Am

ktinajoy February 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

Hey Heather, Thinking of you and praying you get answers. I have known the jitters and heart palpitations of anxiety and even now, as the biggest source of anxiety has been removed, I feel like my body has gotten into a rut. I’m trying to teach it to calm down. I’m searching for answers too, but so far, no luck. Praying for you. Romans 15:13 (It’s about hope and peace and joy.)

Molly February 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Your post made me cry, echoes of my own past-post-partum choking me up. I wish we were friends because I could talk to you, tell you you’ll be alright. It may not be the first or even second med that does it, and it won’t be instantaneous. But one day soon, you will wake up, and for part of the day, not feel that bone-crushing anxiety, followed by those waves of inexplicable sadness. And then, soon after that, you may actually feel real joy for a moment, know in your soul, not just your head, that everything is good and fine. Eventually, most of every day will feel that way. No more faking it to make it. It will just be. I promise.
Molly recently posted..the joke, or life as a circus

Fiona February 18, 2012 at 2:38 pm

thinking of you and grateful that you are sharing. I’m so sorry you are in this pain. Xo

christine February 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Thank you for sharing. You are such a strong and amazing person! And good for you for getting the help you need. I hope you start to feel that hope and joy again soon. (I too, know what it’s like to dance with the sadness. And sometimes to not be able to dance at all.)
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Kori February 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

More parallels. So glad you know what you need to do, and are willing to do it.
Kori recently posted..A fog

Laura February 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I struggle with chronic depression too. You are so brave for writing about it while you’re in the midst of it… It’s much easier to tell others about it after you’ve won the battle for a while and you can give the story a triumphant ending. Christopher Robin had it right…you are stronger than you think. I’ll be thinking of you.

Elizabeth February 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm

The part about wondering if your sons will remember you dancing with your sad really got me. I had to explain to Owen what depression is last weekend. I told him that how some people have allergies other people (like me) have this. And it comes on some times, very strongly, in fact; and even though our lives are really happy, we still feel very, very sad. And so we exercise and try to sleep and take vitamins or even medicine and we surround ourselves with people who love us and want to help us feel better.

And explaining it to him helped me have a little more compassion for myself. I share this because I am hoping you take it easy on yourself and that you’ll be very kind and gentle and compassionate to yourself through this phase. Be a mama to yourself.

It is hard. I do not know anxiety, but I know depression all too well and the way it resurfaces throughout life. At least we recognize it by this time around, right? AH, there you are again. Right?

Much love to you, Heather. Pulling for you.
Elizabeth recently posted..lineage

Janet February 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I love your writing and am in awe of your honesty. Praying for you and so thankful you are getting help and finding answers.

Janet February 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I love your writing and I am in awe of your honesty. Praying for you and so thankful you are getting help and finding answers.
Janet recently posted..NOT a Typical Day in the Life of Mollie!

Adventures in Babywearing February 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

It’s like torture to me that we aren’t next door neighbors. I want more than anything for someone to just hold me and tell me it’s all going to be okay, but they can’t if I am always pushing away, pretending Im perfect, and never admitting I need that help. Why do I do this?

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Kate February 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

you getting help, helps so many others. such power in your words. i also have that skill of self reflection, seeing myself slip a bit into a touch, or bit of depression — pushing to stay out.

Elaine February 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I’m thinking of you and wishing I could hug you. I hope things start to improve. I know they will. I want you to be happy and be free of this. I’m praying for you too, Heather, Much love…
Elaine recently posted..Date Night & Miss Elaine-ous Monday

Issa February 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm

You were brave to share Heather. I hope things get easier very soon. Hugs to you.

Teresa C February 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I know depression. It’s so hard, but you will feel better in time. Stay strong!
Your writing is amazing.

Tiffany February 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I am going through something similar…you’ve perfectly put it into words. I’m thinking of you.
Tiffany recently posted..11

Debbie February 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Sometimes I wait to read the blog notices and I’m glad this one got put off because today, of all days, I needed to read it. Your words are pushing me in the direction I need to go, so thank you so much for have the courage to sit down and put those words into your blog and hit publish. It really does make a difference.
Debbie recently posted..The First Feast

Louise February 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm

the song you’ve written about this time in your life…..i hope it will be a constant and lasting reminder of your bravery and your commitment to finding your best self. it was absolutely beautiful. i wish you luck on your journey. it’s such a gift to find others so willing to talk about depression…thank you.
Louise recently posted..you surprised me, again

cheairs February 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I am playing catch up on your posts. Your honesty…your courage….your words a selfless gift that you give to us. May you feel this community holding you. When you can not stand…when your heart races so quickly and your chest is being crushed….we are here. Those who you know and those you have never met…..their hands are on your shoulder you are not alone…may the gift that you give to so many come raining down on you….because :eather you are a most glorious gift to so many…..holding you in my thoughts and prayers.

Ellie {Musing Momma} March 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Heather, you are an incredible writer. I love coming to your site never knowing what I will find – an essay, a poem, or something else. You have amazing grace and courage, sharing your experiences as you do. I hope you soon begin finding the light at the end of this tunnel – it is such a hard place to be.
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