Monday, October 17, 2016

I Did Not Have To Take The Valium

Things have been a bit crazed around here lately. Both sons-in-law have taken does to fill their freezers with good meat and last night it was Jason's turn and he and the boys came over so that Jason could use the equipment here to clean his deer and the boys ran in and out of the house and ate shrimp and corn and shouted and laughed and were merry and wild and I was barely hanging on with the anxiety which had my core tightened to a steel knot of twisted wire but it was okay. It really was and by bedtime, I was so glad to get in my bed and finish Springsteen's autobiography. I had saved just a few last pages to read and overall, the thing that got me hardest was the fact that Bruce has spent so much of his life suffering and battling depression and then, in his sixties, anxiety.

So much of what he described could have come directly from my own mouth- the inability to find comfort, the lack of interest in anything, the constant feeling of certain and imminent doom. I thought about all of this- how Bruce Springsteen who probably has one of the strongest wills on the planet, who through talent and belief and the hardest work imaginable has made a life which not only touches millions but also includes a family life with a loving wife and children raised and doing well. And that if this man who has had access to every sort of medical care available and who has had the loving support of his wife and his friends, found himself unable to leave the bed for days at a time- well, then I needed to admit that these horrible teeth of the black dog which bite my ass are not my fault and that there is no shame to them. I do not invite their horrible terror. I do not in any way ask them to come and live with me.

I am grateful to Bruce for speaking openly about these things. About his therapy, his use of medication, his struggle.

I enjoyed the book and here I will give you my favorite line:

"I've come across many spirit-filled folk in my travels but no one as spectrally beautiful as Keith Richards."

He had never met the Stones until a few years ago when Mick Jagger fulfilled his teenaged fantasy and called him to ask if he'd sit in with them on "Tumbling Dice" in the concert that the boys were playing in New Jersey. The same one I saw on pay-per-view two years ago. Three years ago?
I don't know. Time flies.
He of course accepted and when he got to the rehearsal, he said it reminded him of playing in a garage as a teenager, the same set-up with mics and speakers and that he was completely overwhelmed to be in the presence of the men who had invented his job.

Of course I loved reading that. That was one of the joyful parts of the book and there are plenty in the book along with the darkness.
And let's face it- if Springsteen wasn't who he was with his demons of darkness, he could never have written those songs, would never have had the motivation to prove himself to himself.

Knowing what I know about depression and anxiety, I cannot in good conscience say that it was an even trade. But it was what it was and the world is a far richer place because of him, exactly who he is.

So, this morning I woke around four and had a hard time sleeping for the rest of the hours left to me in the bed because I knew I had to get up and go with Lily and Owen and Maggie for a follow-up appointment from when Owen had his little incident on the bus a few weeks ago which may have been a seizure. So I drove to their house and we dropped Gibson off at school and went to the hospital, my least favorite place in the world and I had even tucked my last remaining Valium in my purse in case I needed it but it was okay. It was all okay. The doctor talked to Owen and his mother and then they did an EEG and if nothing shows up, that will be the end of it unless something else happens. Lily's mama-gut tells her that her boy is fine and of course, I trust that.
And also, of course, being the anxiety-ridden-Chicken-Little-the-sky-is-falling person that I am, I still worry.
But we shall see. While the test was going on, I took Maggie out for a walk and in her stroller and she fell asleep and we sat under some trees and it was peaceful and good.

After the test we went and picked up Gibson and then we met Jessie and August and Hank at Japanica! for a lunch. Here are all four of my grandchildren sitting on the most comfortable couch in the world.

And here are the two babies, considering each other, as they do.

After lunch I went back to Lily's house and got my car and drove back into town and got to stay with August for a little while as his mama had a doctor's appointment of her own. 
He was asleep when I got there and Jessie told me that he would probably stay down for an hour or so and I laid down on the couch with a New Yorker I've been trying to finish for a few days and of course, about ten minutes after she left, he woke up and he was so sad, that little boy. 
I worried that he would be sad the whole time, missing his mama, his beloved mama who is with him day and night but we had a graham cracker and we looked at books that he loves and we played with a few toys and before I knew it, he was happy and beaming and grinning and guffawing as he took the top off of this sippy cup and put it back on, took it off and put it back on.

We put things in a bag and took them out, we put things on our heads and laughed and laughed. We kissed the giant bear, we read more books. We had fun. 

He was perfectly content with me, he was a merry little soul, and when his mama came back he was happy about that too but he had the good grace not to cry and pretend that he had been bereft the entire time she'd been gone and I was delighted. 

And by then, my soul had calmed. The knotted wires of steel in my belly had disappeared and I left with many kisses and went to the store and came home and it had been over nine hours since I left my house and it was all okay. 

And so that's been my day. Having talks with a seven-year old and a four-year old and having snuggles with babies. Being with their mothers and also my son. Feeling needed and adequate. Being loved and giving love. Thinking about things, deeply and with distance and rationality from my own perspective and from the perspective of others. 

Time to go make the supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. You do have a very important place in your families lives. Heck, you have a very important place in one hell of a lot of peoples lives. (mine :) So glad to hear you made it through the day unscathed.

    1. Well, I guess I am very lucky to have given birth to the meaning of my life. So to speak. At least as it comes to my family.

  2. It's pretty much a perfect couple of days, anxiety, steel knots and all. It inspires me the way you keep on keeping on, taking moments here and there to check in with yourself. Those babies love you so much, all of them. All the ages of them. You are a wonderful mother and grandmother. I wish you peace.

    1. I HAVE to keep on with it. As you do- what else can we do? And oh, I so hope that I am around when you begin to have grandchildren. It is going to be the most beautiful think, hearing you talk about them. Your heart is going to explode. I wish you peace too- and grandbabies. When it's time!

  3. That is my fave line in the book too. X

  4. I hate that you have so much anxiety. I love that you have all your littles to distract your insides from the pain. If one were just to come here and look at nothing but pictures they would be happy. I wish you so much peace inside yourself. I know that does nothing because it comes and goes without your bidding. I just wish it would stay away for good. Love.

    1. I wish I didn't have so much anxiety either! I wish it not just for me but for my husband, my children, my grandchildren. That is one of the things I hate about it the most- it affects them. Especially my husband who is deserving of so much better. It is a sorrow to my heart.

  5. Baby magic. August sounds like delightful company - I love this age, where you can be doin stuff with them. And the photo of the two babies with their little feet facing each other... arg!

    I wish I had a magic wand, Mary, to get rid of all the torturous feeling.

    1. I wish we all had magic wands!
      But we could never even imagine to wish for the joy of babies, could we? Yes, August is at such a good age. We can communicate and engage together. We can play games and even make jokes! It's just lovely.

    2. I remember when my daughter got to about 4-6 months and thinking she was just the best, funniest conversationalist ever - I wouldn't have chosen anyone else for my fantasy dinner party :)

  6. So glad the black cloud has lifted. We have missed you and your babies. They are all such shining lights. Good work, Mer! You Are Loved. x0 N2

    1. Oh. Thank you, Ms. N2. It is so nice to hear from you.
      Thank you.

  7. Once again, it's all about the healing power of the kids! I'm glad the day ended well for you and you know, I couldn't sleep either last night! Maybe something was up with sun spots or moon spots or something? The Bruce book sounds terrific. It's nice to know our idols are basically just human!

    1. That damn moon was too full! That's the problem.
      We are ALL human. Except perhaps for Keith Richards. Of course.

  8. I wouldn't have thought that Bruce Springsteen battled depression and anxiety. He is so alive and outgoing. I am glad he is talking about it. For his sake and the sake of all of us who want the stigma removed.
    I think that a the first picture I have seen of all your grandbabies together. It made me smile.

  9. I had the worst nightmare of my life on Monday night -- truly. What the hey was going on?


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