The Blessing of a Sister (-in-law)

When they began dating, I was 16 years old, an obnoxious adolescent who could simply not fathom why she was at all interested in my brother. But as time went on, she cast a spell on him and made him into a real mensch (still in progress!).

The truth is, she is the real mensch. We’ve always hated the term “in-law” as sister felt more appropriate. Between last summer and the past week I would much rather say “sister,” for only a true sister would drive 8 hours to help out when I am ill; to be there to entertain little girl and hold me up when I do not have the strength to do so on my own. This decision to come came after little thought. Certainly having teenagers makes it easier to leave for a few days, but it’s a long drive.

I wish upon everyone a sister like Jenn. I only hope I am half the sister to her that she is to me. I feel blessed and extremely lucky to call her family, a true sister, the one I have always wanted.

Now, she is a real blessing.


Moving On

In another month I will complete my ECT treatments. I honestly cannot wait. While it has certainly been a huge factor, in terms of saving my life, I am ready to move on. That is my current focus: moving on.
I’ve been thinking back to where I was a year ago and it broke my heart when I read what I blogged a year ago in February. Here it is:

If I don’t smile for an extended period of time, don’t take it personally.
If I seem “off” in some way, don’t take it personally.
If I don’t appear to be listening to you, don’t take it personally.
If I don’t laugh at your joke, don’t take it personally.
If my hand is unsteady, don’t take it personally.
If I appear tearful, don’t take it personally.
If I yawn, don’t take it personally.
If I don’t want to be around people, don’t take it personally.
If my leg shakes when I sit next to you, don’t take it personally.
If I forget something, don’t take it personally.
If I need to leave work a few minutes early to pick up my daughter as I ache to hug her, don’t take it personally.
If I don’t go to your house to hang out because I cannot imagine being extroverted, don’t take it personally.
This is Depression. This is my Depression. This is me right now. Don’t be put off and don’t run away. Give me time and just be there. And please, don’t take it personally. 

I was really sick. While I remember feeling this way, it is a different experience to read this now when I am healthy and thinking clearly. I remember those raw feelings. I felt an emptiness that could not be filled.  

I am trying to focus on the present now, the positive results of all of my treatment and all of my work. I am finally at a point of self-recognition. I have done a great job of thanking my therapist, ECT nurses, other hospital staff, family and friends for helping to rescue me from my depression, but I am finally at a point of praising myself. No one else could go to therapy for me or have ECT on my behalf; it was me. It was my choice to see my therapist, I agreed to go to the hospital, both times, I agreed to all of the medication trials. I did the work, whether it was using my head, my heart or the rest of my body. It was in my control. I am finallyproud of myself. I accomplished so much this past year and I am grateful for my inner strength. I am at a better place, emotionally, and I can’t imagine going back. 

I have a bracelet that says: She believed she could, so she did.

I believed I could, so I did.


Strength Needed

I take it day by day right now, like so many people. I get myself to work, do what I am supposed to do and get through the day. I pick up my daughter from preschool at the end of each day and simply can’t kiss her enough. I am usually aching for her by the end of the day. That is my favorite moment of each day right now…receiving the running hug from her.
Today I have a challenge. I have been laying low in the evenings and on weekends as I simply do not want to be around other people and feel the pressure of making conversation and being “happy.” Tonight though is Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) and my husband, daughter and I always are together for Shabbat dinner. There is a monthly program at our synagogue called PJ Shabbat (which occurs tonight) and we always go, together as a family. This morning my husband asked if I was going and I told him I would be. I cannot imagine being apart from them on Shabbat. I am now left with anxiety and I hope I can put on a brave face for my daughter’s sake. It is just over an hour of singing, stories and eating and while I know logically I can make it, I am still worried about presenting myself in a way that will not appear “depressed.” I know I don’t need to be happy but I know I can’t appear dazed (as I am) or disconnected.
So, I know I can do it and I will probably feel better for it. Shabbat is about family and I need to be with my family, my comfort now more than ever.
I would also never want to miss my daughter singing the songs and prayers…that is priceless. I have to push myself for her and my husband, for our family.
Shabbat Shalom.