The World Is Full of Suffering

The World Is Full of Suffering

I am blessed/cursed with a heart that feels everything.

ASPCA commercials make me want to run down to the pound and adopt all the dogs and cats, even though my husband is allergic to the felines. When someone tells me about a local pregnant teen, I want to find her and comfort her as I fear she isn’t being supported in the ways that truly matter. Homelessness. Poverty. Death to drug addiction; drug addiction in general. Suicidal ideation.

All of it makes my heart spill over. I want to fix the world.

I cannot. Some problems are based in cycles and systemic issues that won’t magically be solved just because Jenna stepped up to some proverbial plate. Some people don’t want help. Some people will actively work against your attempts to help others.

I get it. There have been (too many) times in which I haven’t wanted help either. Sometimes it’s easier to live in your own personal, mostly self-created hell than to say, “I want this to change,” than to actively do something about it. I refused and waited out this most recent diagnosis and med change because, wait for it, I didn’t want to “gain weight with a new medication.” Yeah. That’s right. I chose to live every day—for months on end—with my first thought being, “I want to die. I want to kill myself,” simply because I didn’t want to gain a few pounds.

Even thought admitting that seems silly and fucking selfish as hell, the feeling at the time was enough to keep me from telling my therapist what was really going on, from telling my Meds Doc that, no, current medications weren’t keeping me from wanting to kill myself. A few people knew, but even then, I tried to play it off as something minor.

“I’m just struggling.”
“It will pass.”
“I’m fine.”

If you ever hear me say, “I’m fine,” let me be the first to tell you, I’m not fine. Not at all.

The good news is that someone finally got through to me, meaning my husband, and I took the hard steps of actively seeking an answer to the depression that would not quit. The new diagnosis initially shook me. “Treatment Resistant? Am I stuck like this forever?” I’m not. I just need to work harder with the medical professionals in my life to find the appropriate answers.

And while the world is full of suffering, as Helen Keller said, “it is also full of overcoming it.”

I don’t know why my brain doesn’t work quite right. I don’t know why I get stuck in Major Depressive episodes. I know that adoption grief and loss, sexual trauma, and a few other things poke and prod. I diligently work on these issues, but the depression, for now, persists. I don’t know why my anxiety will stick at a manageable level for a lengthy period of time and then sky-rocket to astronomical, I-can’t-do-this levels. I know that adoption grief and loss, sexual trauma, trust issues, fear of failure-slash-perfectionism all come into play. I work on these things, too. But I can be sitting, cozy and warm on the couch on an idle Tuesday and be absolutely run down by sudden anxiety. Out of nowhere.

I don’t know why certain segments of our society feel more akin to hate than to love. I don’t know why people abuse or neglect animals. I cannot, for the life of me, as a birth mother or just a simple human being, understand why other human beings neglect or abuse children. I don’t know what possesses someone to rape another. I don’t know why some people feel superior to others, thus making others feel inferior, based on the color of their skin. Or whom they love. Or how they identify. Or whatthefuckever. Or, I know some of these things, but I cannot make good sense of them in 2017.

I do know this: Despite the hate, the racism, the xenophobia, the misogyny, the desperate need to be better than somebody else for whatever reason, the world is full of people who are overcoming the suffering others put them through on a daily basis.

Right now, I’m having trouble being awake enough to function. It’s a side effect of a medication my Meds Doc put me on in hopes that I would stop waking up with the desire to kill myself. I am thankful for those in my life who understand that this is a hard, dark time in my life and that I’m actively trying to work my way through it. I want to be me again; I want to be Jenna again. I’ve been fighting and trying and pushing and surrendering and failing and wishing and hoping and praying and working my way toward what I hope will help me feel like me again. It’s not happening in the time frame that I would prefer, but I am slowly learning to trust the process. To take any progress, however small, as a complete and utter win.

I am slowly working myself back to me. I know so many other people who are doing the same thing, right now, in this very moment. We are resilient. We will make it through this. You know what I mean.

The World Is Full of Suffering

We will overcome. Stay the course. Trust the process. Keep doing what you have to do. I will stand with you in all of it.

March Is

March is a weird month, no?

I don’t like basketball at all, so I don’t get swept up in the Madness. I wear green for 17 days straight, and by, oh, a few days ago, I’m ALL DONE and desperately want to wear other colors. It’s 80 degrees one day, 14 the next with a blizzard on the way as the tulips, daffodils, and lilies push their way up.

My mini rose bush is all greened up with red buds all over.

March is confused.

We used to take part in the big Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but we’re old now. And tired. One year, Little League baseball try-outs fell on the same day. They don’t this year, but both boys have to try out as both are in Official Little League Ages which means, yes, we’re old now. And tired. Baseball season is almost here for the both the kids and our enjoyment, but not quite.

Not just yet.

March feels like a month of waiting for things to happen. Things are greening up, but not just yet. Almost baseball season, but not just yet. Almost my birthday month, but not just yet. Almost spring, but ha! Nope!

March is an in-betweener. Like the tween boy in my house. Still young enough to enjoy playing games with his family, but old enough to want to spend time with his friends instead of his parents. Old enough to read Really Big Books with Really Big Themes, but young enough to enjoy laughing his way through another read of Captain Underpants with his younger brother. Old enough to make sense of the news; young enough not to be scared stiff by it all.

March is the approach of spring, the end of winter; the promise of something new, the leftovers of a weird winter weather season. March settles in your bones a little, the cold, damp air of attempting to change a season—back and forth, back and forth. March makes you take a sweater with you everywhere you go. March makes you remember seasons and people. March makes you wonder if it was just you.

March makes you want to peek around the corner of the calendar for a glimpse of what’s coming even when you know you need to stay present in this moment. March makes this moment feel like it will never end when you’re trapped back in the house during the most recent cold snap. Cabin fever leaves you feeling a little less like you, makes you wonder if this is just what you feel like now.

March makes you question. Everything. Yourself. Your partner. Your friends. Gravity. Global warming. Politics and politicians and Russia and perjury. Gin. Wine. Why people need to turn beer green in order to drink it when it’s good already. Which kind of coffee you really like; I’m currently on an Italian Roast kick. Television. Adoption. Exercise. Running. Your joints. Your hair. Your fingernails. The way your toes crack. Food. Potential. Organization or lack thereof. Dogs. Babies. Pokemon. The definition of success; your definition of success. Failure. The many ways we’ve failed so many in the human rights category. Feminism and its problem with true intersectionality. Mental health. Mental illness. Insomnia. Sleep. Parenting. Birth-parenting. That thing you did that changed life for so many people in ways none of you could have imagined at the time. Love, hate, and everything in between. What to get Katie for her birthday. Your past. Your future. Your present. Music. Why you do that thing you do. Why you don’t do that thing you don’t do. Life. Death.

March doesn’t offer answers, just 31 whole days to live, to love, to be you.

March is.

March Is