Rest in peace, Granddad

Daniel’s grandfather, Bruce, passed away this morning. He was 91 years old. He lived a long, healthy, happy, and productive life. He worked hard to provide for the family he loved: three sons and a daughter, numerous grandchildren (at least 10*, and I believe Daniel is the oldest), and multiple great-grandchildren, with Alyssa and Ryan being their second and third in that generation of family members.

Daniel and his grandfather (2012)


Coronavirus is no joke, guys. Wearing a mask really isn’t that big of a deal, and it really can mean the difference between life and death!

(* I think. I know there are at five just from Daniel’s father; plus two cousins who live here in Pennsylvania.)

Finding my way back to myself.

selfie - May 21, 2020

Hi. I’m still here. I nail it with daily social media interaction (primarily on Facebook, Instagram, and somewhat on Twitter), but I’ve become a terrible blogger.

You know what? I truly think I have forgotten how to blog! After so many years (nearly two decades!) of doing it, just three short years have completely wiped out my abilities. Or so it seems. In truth, I know it’s a combination of stress and the everyday chaos of life, plus being out of practice, that is hindering me. And also, those three “short” years? They were incredibly long when I lived through barely survived them.

And then there’s the depression. I didn’t think it was that bad. I thought I was handling it. But I was so, so wrong! It was when I had a complete breakdown with a fill-in doctor whom I had met approximately five minutes prior to me bursting into chest-heaving sobs that I knew I needed outside help. I am struggling with severe depression. Did you know that passive suicidal ideation (here’s another article that does a great job of defining it from Thrive Global: The Definition of Passive Suicidal Ideation) is a real thing? I didn’t. I simply coined how I felt as “wishing I could stop existing”. But that was it. I didn’t have a plan. I still don’t. Outside of two attempts I was hospitalized for three weeks during the autumn of 2018 for, I did not have a plan nor make any additional attempts. All I know is this: I wake up and immediately count how many hours I have to stay conscious before I can retreat to my bed and drug-induced (prescribed and OTC) slumber. I try to exist in a conscious state for as little time as possible. Most days I find myself wishing I would fall asleep and never wake up.

I need help, because I can’t do it on my own. And I’m getting it! Prior to the COVID-19 quarantine/lockdown/shelter-in-place/stay-at-home pandemic, I was seeing two therapists a week: Victor, for drug and alcohol counseling; and Marcus, for intensive outpatient counseling. But then everything ground to a halt, and I immediately lost that crucial support.

But I have a plan, and I’m seeing it through:

  • I see my PCP’s resident every two weeks for my Suboxone prescription (for both MAT and management of the never-ending, gradually-worsening chronic pain in my lumbar spine and abdomen/pelvic cavities). While I’m there she gives me a mini-counseling session.
  • Weekly video conferencing appointments with my IOP counselor, Marcus.
  • Weekly parenting counseling with a YWCA paraeducator.
  • A new addition to my medication regimen: Cymbalta, an SNRI anti-depressant (bonus: it also helps to alleviate nerve pain!)
  • And most importantly: a better mindset.

Old Jenn would shrug it off, square her shoulders, and bulldoze forward, determined to do it alone – if she even acknowledged her weakness and vulnerability at all.
But New Jenn realizes that, for the really important matters in life, you can’t go it alone – you need a support system comprised of people and tools.

My head is barely above water, but I can see the shoreline. I just have to keep at it. And that is exactly what I am doing, grueling and painful as the process may be. I have my family to think of, and I’m determined to continue healing myself so I can be a better me for me, and for Daniel, Alyssa, and Ryan. ♥

Every day I’m strugglin’.

(Sing this blog entry title to the tune of the LMFAO’s song Party Rock Anthem, in particular this line: “every day I’m shufflin'”)

Depression has been steadily creeping up on me. The severity of it hit me last week, when I realized just how happy and at peace I should be, but aren’t. And so I started confiding in people: my doctor (who increased my Cymbalta, since its SNRI properties can be an effective anti-depressant), my IOP therapist (who will be having a phone session with me next week), even my probation officer. And now I’m telling the internets, because why not? Depression isn’t shameful. It doesn’t make you not enough of something. Depression tells you you aren’t enough, but depression lies.

I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I’m going to work harder to overcome. I won’t let depression win (though so far, it’s had a good run at kicking my ass and reducing me to an apathetic, listless, despairing mess).