Wednesday, May 10, 2006

No Breakdown Lane

My story is already happening. I want this blog to be in real time. I wanted to be chronicling this from the very beginning, but I couldn't manage the implements of blogging.

So, readers, and I hope you are out there because I really want to talk to you, let me take your hand and lead you again to early January of this year, and a pertinent journal entry.

[twirly harp sounds and blurred vison]
I’m freaking out. Ever since Saturday, I’ve been crying, yelling, withdrawing to my bed. I am ill, sick to my stomach, like somebody died. What can I tell my husband? He is bewildered.

He is shouldering most of the parenting. I am good to no one right now.

He needs a break.

So, Sunday I took the kids to my mom’s, a two hour drive south on I-5 into logging country. It wasn't sunny, but it didn't rain. The fields are still brown there in the Shoestring Valley, nothing is growing. Still, there are wide-open spaces and tremendous ravens sitting on barbed-wire fences.

I had called that morning, asking if I could come. My mom sounded surprised and worried. "Of course," she said. "We'd love to see you and the babies."

I let the children be supervised by my mom and her new live-in boyfriend, my father. (More on that later.) I sat on Mom's Indian print couch couch and read her back issues of Martha Stewart. I barely spoke, and I know I never cracked a smile. I was just a warm body.

Finally, she put her hands on my shoulders and said, "Are you okay?"

"No, I'm not okay."

"What's going on?"

What could I say? "I'm depressed" sounded so pitiful. So I told her I just needed a break. I didn't want to get into a big list of my symptoms as we stood in the middle of the living room. Besides, I was afraid she'd give me some advice. I truly, truly, do not need advice.

Driving home in the dark, I believe I staved off about three panic attacks somehow, I guess so as not to veer off the road and kill my children in a wreck. I had brought the wrong pair of glasses, the ones that I can't see in at night. Plus, my senses were off. Sounds swirled around me. Cars menaced me with their headlights, chased me, intimidated me. I was totally losing sense of reality. I knew this was all crazy, but I couldn’t make it stop. So I cried and talked to myself and stayed in the right lane and prayed. I have never been so terrified, with my children sleeping in the back seat, depending on me not to screw up. Once I realized I shouldn't be driving, I was on the freeway. It was a half hour on a foggy country road to turn around and go back to my mom's. It was an hour and a half on a well-lit superhighway to get to Seattle. I decided to keep going until I couldn't, and then I would call M. No matter where I was.

I made it home.

Since then, I’ve been crying, and mostly unable to care for the children. Today M’s back at work, and the sitter is about to leave, and I am scared.

I need to get help.


Ellen said...

I'm glad it's May 24 instead of May 10th AND other blogs have followedl This is scarey. I've pondered it since reading it this morning. "I truly truly do not need advice" is true, because depression is by nature so private and non-intellectual. But this mother wonders if you had pulled off the hiway in the dark rain and waited for a cop to come into your window and said "Thank you officer for saving me; I am not safe to drive children," I wonder what advice he'd have given?

susie said...

So right, ellen, I shouldn't have been driving. It was one of those terrible situations where you feel like whatever you do may be the wrong thing. But if the rain hadn't stopped, I would definitely have pulled over.

Must be hard for a loving grandma to read, I'm sure.

Mostly I didn't want advice from my mother.