Inside Out

“The structural decision to do without a villain, and ultimately to do without one of the easiest elements to make entertaining and marketable, means that the process Riley is undergoing — adolescence — is visualized as … normal. Her mind is not a space that’s been invaded by something that must be driven out, but a new environment to be mastered. And if other kids’ stories are there to teach kids how to be brave when they see witches and giants, Inside Out is there, maybe, to teach them how to be brave when there’s no witch and no giant, but things can feel broken anyway.”

Linda Holmes, NPR

Today, Robby and I saw Inside Out. If you haven’t seen it, go see it.

Seriously.

I’ll wait.

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.

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So, assuming that you watched it, I’m now going to talk about it, so if you haven’t seen it, go see it now, cause otherwise I’m going to blow the plot for you.

*Spoilers*

In the movie, a young pre-teen girl (Riley) starts to realize that her days aren’t just filled with joy any more. That she is growing up. But her mom–in an off-hand manner–asks her to keep being her ‘happy little girl’. So when Riley starts struggling, she begins to hide it, and that’s when her emotions get out of whack.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Through all sorts of adventures by her little inner-emotion cartoons, Riley starts to lose parts of who she used to be. When those pieces of herself start to be lost, she stops being goofy, she withdraws from her parents, she cuts off her friends, and she abandons the sport she has loved her whole life. In a desperate attempt to try and find herself again, she decides to run away, back to a place where she was happy.

Through all of this, Joy has been desperately trying to keep Sadness at bay, to keep Riley from being sad, but Riley is so mixed up that she ends up not being able to feel anything.

She goes numb.

Until Sadness steps in.

When she was a child, Joy had always been able to cheer Riley up, but she can’t go from feeling numb to feeling joyful. She has to feel the sadness. The pain.

Because it’s part of life. It’s normal.

It’s not fun, but it’s normal. And as she realizes that the different emotions can mix and form new emotions, Riley rebuilds the pieces of herself.

Riley’s Personality Islands at the beginning of the movie

To be honest, I cried a lot during this movie. I remember those days of joy as a kid, and I remember feeling my world fall to pieces. And going numb. Except that I was numb for years. I didn’t get to rebuild thepieces of myself right away like Riley did. I didn’t start learning about those ‘new emotions’ until I was in my twenties.

And seeing the childhood that most people had, the emotions that they went through just hurt so much. Because it’s not fair. It’s not fair what I lost, what I missed. My personality ‘islands’ broke and I was just blank for years.

Riley’s Personality Islands falling apart

My ‘Friendship Island’ turned into ‘Distrustful Island’. I shut down my ‘Athletic Island’ because people kept making fun of me whenever I would do anything athletic. And my “Girlie Island’ was completely buried under self-loathing and fear of attention. I used to love to wear pretty dresses and jewelry, and having my make-up put on for dance recitals was so much fun, but once that island broke, I ran from all of that. I couldn’t bring myself to be a little girl anymore. I hid behind baggy boys clothes in dark colors. Nothing bright, nothing that would draw attention.

And I want to open those islands back up. I don’t necessarily want to dance on a stage like I did when I was 5, but I’d like to have the confidence to take a Zumba class now and then, because I genuinely enjoy it. I don’t want to be so afraid of ridicule that I don’t go to the gym on the off-chance that other people will be

Riley’s re-built personality islands at the end of the movie

there. And I’d love to be girlie sometimes. Maybe wear a pretty hair clip. I’ve always wanted to dye streaks of color, like blue or purple, into my hair, but I’ve never had the courage to do it, because it draws attention, and that’s something I am so afraid of.

I know that life isn’t all Joy, and that’s okay. I just want to rebuild myself.

Revisiting The Stigma of Suicide

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Asking for help makes you strong. Go ahead, ask.

                              Asking for help makes you strong. Go ahead, ask.

 

So I am updating a post that I wrote a while ago. Since writing the post below, my husband lost a friend a friend to suicide, I know of a teen who committed suicide and another two people who attempted suicide.

Tomorrow, this post will be exactly 6 months old.

In only six months, there have been 4 lives that felt so broken, that they felt that death was their only option.

And that is so heartbreaking.

No person should ever feel that way. Ever.

I have struggled with self-worth and depression, and I still do. Especially right now. Because I’m still dealing with my issues. I still have those voices in my head telling me that I’m not good enough, telling me I’m not worth anything. And I struggle. I struggle not to believe them. I struggle to keep living my life when I feel like all I should do is give in and break down, and just hide from the world.

But I keep struggling. Because I know that struggling is better than giving up. Because I have people who love me. And when I get through this struggle, I will be me again, and the Me without the struggle, I love her.

And you may be reading this thinking that you don’t know who you are without the struggle. Don’t you want to find out? Find help. Use the info below, and get the help that you’ve always wanted. It’s hard, and it’s scarey, but it’s worth it. I know, I’ve been there. And if the struggles come back, do it again. I’ll be doing it again with you. I’m doing it right now.

And if you’re reading this thinking that you don’t have anyone who loves you, I love you. I really do. If I can help your life through my writing, I want to. Oh, Lord, I so want to. Please let me. Take my words from the screen and put them in your heart and know that I am struggling with you. I am crying, I am hurting, and I am with you. Because no one should have to be alone. Message me, leave a comment, call a hotline, but don’t be alone. Because you aren’t.

 

if you are struggling with depression or other mental illnesses and need help or encouragement, use the resources below

The Bloggess– A fellow struggler who will make you laugh

Suicide Prevention Lifeline– full of resources if you are struggling, including instant chat and help finding a therapist

Suicide Hotline- 1-800-273-8255

Boggle the Owl– one artist’s beautiful advice on depression and self-love. The art for this post came from here

The Stigma of Suicide

Written 3/11/2015

I find it so strange that at a time in someone’s life when a person needs the most love that person can be being met with the harshest of judgements.

Anyone who has ever suffered from severe depression understands. You need love. You need comfort. You need desperately to talk to someone, to reach out for help because you can’t keep fighting anymore. But you don’t, because you know.

You know the friend will be extremely uncomfortable and try and change the subject, just so they don’t have to acknowledge what is truly happening. You know you’ll lose serve your nerve to go to the ER because you don’t want to be labeled as ‘the crazy girl’. When you say how you “can’t handle it anymore” your friends laugh tiredly and say “same here”,  but you don’t dare use the word ‘suicidal’ because you can’t take another the person looking at you with confusion, pity, and fear in their eyes, as if you expect them to “fix it”.

Because when a person does say they are suicidal, they know you can’t fix it. They know how lost they are. But they are trying, desperately, maybe for the last time, to reach out and find love. They want someone who cares. Someone who will cry with them for their pain, not back away from their own fear.

But so often suicide is shameful. We are looked down upon for struggling. For being so human that this world hurts us. Even for being sick and needing help in a way that many don’t understand.

I have a friend (we will just call her J) and her brother recently tried to commit suicide. I praise God that he lived, but it struck me as odd that this is how she told me.

Me: got your message about your brother. What happened so that he ended up in the ICU?

J: He tried to kill himself. He is feeling very ashamed. I’m trying to keep it private.

I hate that at this time in his life–when he needs love and support more than ever–he is isolating himself from everyone by not letting them in by telling them the truth.

And that is because of the stigma of suicide.

The Bad Guy

To me, our family has always been the most important thing. Rob and I are meant to take care of each other, and that includes our family and our home.

But I keep feeling as though I’m the only one who is truly making the effort to take care of our family and home. I’m getting so frustrated of having to do everything.

Of having to constantly talk him into going to work. I get that you don’t necessarily want to go, or that you’re tired or feel like crap, but you still have to work unless it is absolutely not possible. Working is a part of life. It’s necessary to keep our life going. We can’t pay our bills or buy groceries or even live in our house without our jobs.

I am beyond grateful that he worked for those years I was unable to because of the PTSD. He went above and beyond for our family, and I don’t understand why ever since then he has pulled back from being an active part of our family. Actually, it was during those years that he supported us that he started to pull back from being a member of our family. He worked, but that was about it. Slowly, I did more and more until I was doing everything for him. He even admitted that he was taking advantage of me.

I just don’t understand. Was it that he felt resentful? Overwhelmed? Overburdened? Does he need to lean on me now like I leaned on him then? I just don’t understand. I wish he would tell me.

I hate feeling like I am forcing him to be a part of our family. Like I am the bad guy. Part of me wants to just let it go. If he doesn’t want to be part of us, part of our family, then I shouldn’t make him. Because I am so hurt, and so tired of this fight. But another part of me can’t let it go. I feel like if I don’t make him go to work and don’t tell him that his apathy hurts me then it will get worse. That it will fall apart. But it feels like things are falling apart, because I don’t want to be the bad guy. Because it’s been years and he keeps doing it.

And I keep being the bad guy.

Keep Walking On The Path

I’ve been trying to reconnect with God lately, so I’ve been reading my devotionals lately and I really loved parts of two of the passages.

“Peace is more than a feeling, it’s a knowing that everything is going to be alright because God is on your side…A sure indicator of trust in God is a fixed mind…It is being able to rest in your heart and soul…”

“Keep walking with Me along the path I have chosen for you. Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart…All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.”

I want to become more dependent on God. I’ve really struggled with being too dependent on myself. Ever since I’ve started healing from the PTSD, I’ve felt more whole than I have in my entire life, which–I am ashamed to say–has made me feel farther from God. Almost like I don’t want to need Him (?). I want to feel powerful and in control. I don’t want to feel dependent.

But I also haven’t felt very at peace.

Because feeling like you have to keep your life in control all the time is exhausting. And I love God. I miss that closeness, the comfort. The comfort of knowing that I am in his arms. I know I need to rest my mind on Him and to follow His path, even when it scares me.

So today I did.

A while back I met a woman who told me she tries to give everyone she meets a compliment, and I thought that was a beautiful way of life. To tell people what they mean to you, even if you don’t know them. To pass on the positivity. I really felt like it was a God moment.

And today as I was pulling into my parking spot at home, I saw a woman in traditional Indian clothing sitting on a rock. She looked so peaceful, so beautiful, and the sight of her really moved me. And something inside me really wanted to tell her that. But of course I argued with that something. I argued. I told myself it would be awkward. That I would make her uncomfortable. That I was already inside and it didn’t make sense. But I remembered that all I had to do was cling to His hand, even if I was afraid.

And so I walked across the street to talk to her. And it was scary, and a bit awkward but I am so glad I did it. She didn’t speak much English, and I speak none of her language, but we were able to cobble together a bit of a conversation. Her same is Sandya (sp?) and she lives with her grown son Raj. She likes to sit on the rock in the sun. She used to live in India where she was a priestess in the Temple. She also said something about waterfalls at Temples but I didn’t quite get it. She also asked if I was Indian.

I was so happy that I got to meet her and that I listened to God’s prompting. Just little steps at a time.

Mother Yourself

I was talking to my friend today about the realizations Rob and I have had, and how we are trying to decide if we want to have another child, and she gave me some really great advice.

“Mother yourself. Imagine that your daughter had a miscarriage, you would never tell her it was her fault. You would take care of her. If you decide to have kids you first have to learn to take care of yourself, so mother that inner child”

It makes a lot of sense, because in essence that is what I’ve been doing through the therapy. I’m trying to take care of myself. To heal my inner child. But I love the way she put it. To look at it as mothering my inner child.

She also said we have to shut down that mean big sister voice that we all have. You know the one, the voice that says you’re not good enough. The voice that I have been fighting since I was 7.

So I think that instead of looking at it as if I am fighting that voice, I need to look at it as nurturing myself. I need to give myself love.

What Do We Want?

Rob and I have been talking a lot since my realization and our talk at Steak n Shake.

Since we lost Jamie and stopped trying to conceive, we have wavered back and forth on whether or not we want to have kids. Do we adopt? Do we not have kids at all? At one point we were convinced we were going to adopt, and at another point were absolutely convinced we weren’t going to have kids at all. We just could never seem to make up our minds, or even truly know what we want.

And then we started talking about before we lost Jamie.

It wasn’t an accident that we got pregnant. We had been wanting to conceive for a year, and had taken steps (changing medicines, etc) for when we did. We had wanted a child for so long, and were so excited when we found out about Jamie.

But after we lost Jamie everything changed. Rob and I realized that we were both trying so hard to get pregnant right away because we wanted to make up for losing Jamie. We wanted to make it up to the other one because we felt like we let them down. Then, we ended up putting so much pressure on ourselves to get pregnant that we started creating all kinds of problems for ourselves. That’s when Rob’s intimacy problems really flared up. That’s when I had my major PTSD freak out. And we just kind of ran away from the idea of kids.

And now that we are both working through the truth of what happened as well as working through our issues, we are wondering if we do want kids. Were we running away from the idea of being parents because of all the trauma, or because we really don’t feel it is right for us? Everyone has told us that we will make wonderful parents, but we don’t feel that is a good reason to have kids. It needs to come from us. And we still don’t know. Rob wants to finish working through the issues he has just started addressing in therapy, and I want more time to absorb and process the new knowledge that I was a good mom, that I am a good mom to our angel baby.

I think I might want to be a mom again, but I’m not sure yet. I don’t know how to be sure.

Crying in Steak n Shake

We went out to breakfast yesterday morning and I told Rob all about what I realized at Lori’s.

And when I finished talking, I looked at him through my tears and he said the most perfect thing he could have. “I never thought that for a second” And he said it with this look of shock in his eyes, this almost startled blankness that you get when you are so caught off-guard, that I knew it was true.

And the tears just rolled down my face.

“For the longest time I felt that it was my fault. That I didn’t take good enough care of you and Jamie”

I never expected him to say that, so I’m sure I had the same dumb-founded look on my face when I said “I never thought that for a second”

And we held hands and cried in Steak n Shake, because that’s what we do.

 

I Was A Good Mom

For three years I have felt that I caused Jamie’s death.

Just take that in for a minute.

For three solid years, I felt that I had failed as a mom. It was my body, and it didn’t protect my child. I took medicine I shouldn’t have taken while I was pregnant. I didn’t take the partial bed-rest seriously enough. I was struggling with the idea of never being seen as myself any more, but just a baby-carrier. The reasons went on and on, and each one told me that it was my fault that Jamie died.

That I was responsible.

And I never mentioned it to Rob. I mean, in the hospital right after they told us, I remember saying through my tears that it was my fault, and he held my face in his hands and as the tears rolled down his face he told me it wasn’t, but deep in my heart I always believed it was: It was my fault.

But yesterday I started talking to Lori about it.

She tried to tell me all the platitudes. ‘No one is perfect’. ‘You didn’t know when you were pregnant when you took those medicines’. Blah, blah, blah. The things that people say that don’t really help. She told me that at least I can learn from what happened. (again, not helpful) And she said something that jumped out to me. “In the future you would know that if you are having unprotected sex you would make sure you aren’t taking certain medicine”.

And I just kind of stopped.

Because we weren’t being irresponsible. We were trying to have a child. I did change my medicines. I did check with the doctor about one of the medicines I took and she said it was okay until I got a positive pregnancy test. And at our first appointment after we found out we were expecting, we told her that I had accidentally taken the medicines they recommend not to take and she said it would be fine.

We asked.

When I told Lori that, she gave me this funny little look. Almost as if she was surprised she had to say it. “You were being a good mom”.

And since I talked to Lori yesterday, I kept remembering little things. That even though I didn’t like being on bed rest, I did it. I checked about the medicines. I changed what I ate and drank to be safe for the baby. I was reading the pregnancy books. We were cleaning out space for the baby supplies we were already getting. (For crying out loud, I gave away some books!) I called and got the insurance sorted out so our baby would have insurance the minute he/she would be born, and so that we could both have good coverage for the entire pregnancy, especially in case there were complications. And I called the doctor the second I started bleeding and insisted on being seen and being given an ultrasound. And when we heard that heartbeat I never felt happier or more relieved in my life.

I was a good mom. I did everything I could. I wanted to do more, I just didn’t have the chance. And for the first time since we lost Jamie, I truly feel like a mom who has lost a child, and not like a mom who has caused the death of her child.

For Jamie

Three years ago you went to Heaven, and though we know you’ve known nothing but joy there we miss you so much. Mommy and Daddy wish you could have stayed with us, but since you couldn’t, here is what we wish instead:

That Grandpa George sings you the song that was Mommy’s lullaby as a little girl.

That Mommy’s first dog is your first dog, and that he kisses your face just like he used to kiss hers.

That Daddy’s Aunt tells you stories about when Daddy was a little boy, and about your Grandma and Grandpa who wanted to meet you so much.

That Mommy’s friend Rhonda tells you how much you mean to Mommy and Daddy and how we can’t wait to meet you. And that she gives you big hugs, because she gave the best hugs.

That Ann and Everett hold your hands when you walk between them.

That Daddy’s Grandparents hold you in their arms like they never got to hold Daddy.

That Grandpa Bob tells you silly jokes and stories and makes funny faces until you laugh.

That Daddy’s kitty sits in your lap and lets you pet him. Even though he only really liked your Daddy, we’re sure he’ll love you.

That every year you are loved more and more as more of our friends and family and pets come to Heaven and surround you with love.

That Mommy and Daddy will get to hold you and kiss your little cheeks one day, when we are all together in Heaven.

We love you Jamie.

Today, I Don’t Have To Be Okay

Today, I have to remind myself that I don’t have to be okay. That I’m allowed to grieve. To cry. To stay in my pajamas and watch Disney movies.

Because today is hard. Today is the day we lost Jamie.

And I don’t have to be okay.

I can still hurt from the loss if that is how I feel. I can weep again from the pain and know that there is nothing wrong with that.

I can remember the dreams we had, the hopes, and cry over the loss of not only Jamie, but of those hopes and dreams.

Today, I can miss my child and not care if it shows on my face. Not apologize to anyone if it makes them uncomfortable.

Today, I don’t have to justify my pain to anyone because it is my pain, my loss.