Overwhelming Depression

And so it happens. Once in a while, the depression knocks on my door and I let her in. The slow demise of my energetic state. I'm home after a long really cool weekend in door county. Endless chatting with strangers, now friends. Lots of hugs, smiles, and laughs with my son. Good bonding time. We played games. We hiked. We watched every sunset possible. We swam (he swam, I watched). I posted on Instagram about how much fun we had. We dined out: pizza, smoothies, sandwiches and more. We snagged chocolate covered pretzels, fresh tomatoes, corn on the cob, organic sugar-free sodas (with lots of natural sugars lol), and even courageously tried duck eggs for breakfast. We slapped Door County Mom stickers everywhere. This is not an exaggeration. This is our life. It's good. We love it. We have fun. We are real.

Back home, I dropped him at his dad's. With a half-smile from his stepmom and an over-exaggerated hello to Oliver from her as her eyes moved to him, I sped away before his grandmother from Switzerland - neatly tucked into the passenger seat of his stepmoms brand new SUV - could pop out. I doubt she wanted to. We haven't spoken in years, not even an email. This, from a woman who called me her daughter. Who held me in her arms multiple times, looked me in her eyes and softly told me she loved me. “Her alliance is to her son,” I can hear my friend telling me. “I would do the same with my daughters, no matter how much I once loved their partners.” Somehow that advice, though well-meaning, does not help alleviate the pain. It further exasperates it.

Here’s why: When someone tells you they love you, it should be, and it is taken, with no conditions. If what I imagine my friend saying were to be true, then the proclamation of love should be, “I love you as long as you stay married to my son, do not hurt him in a devastating way,” or, “I love you as long as my son stays married to you, but if he cheats on you and leaves you and your child without a father, then I no longer will love you or talk to you, and you will no longer be considered my daughter.” And maybe the cherry on the cake should also be, “In addition, I realize that I am acting as a mother figure to you and that your own mother whom you were quite close to passed away. That being said, the act of love and the assimilation of me as your surrogate mother will also be null and void should the aforementioned be true.”

We all have taken roads which lead us to where we find ourselves today. Many lifetimes, many phases of our lives have passed and of course, hopefully, God-willing, more to come. Not everyone has a charmed life. I came from physical abuse, not occurring often, but exceptionally violent. I saw my mother bloodied. I felt the pain of losing her when I was 29, not yet in love or married, nor a mother myself — she missed many significant parts of my life where instead sat an empty chair in her honor. My neck stepped on repeatedly while I wet myself as my father ragged in anger, “I’m going to kill you!” Years later, my head banged into the ground over and over and over again, with fingerprint bruises left on my arms and neck. (I went on to marry him, so who was sicker?) My father never banged my head into the ground, but I watched as he bashed my sister's head into the wooden dresser, repeatedly as she cried. As a teen, I was hit on my by my older cousin, locked into his grip. His mercy was the key to my escape. I reported him to my father who had, that summer, enlisted my cousin's help in the far-reaching family garden, a summer paradise for fresh vegetables and fruits. The tattling was met with disbelief, and I was unprotected, fending for myself. I avoided being cornered by my cousin that whole summer, having the freedom to leave the house when he was there, for hours and hours.

As a little girl, I was attacked and held hostage in the woods by older teenagers, forced to show my privates to them before being allowed to leave. I was raped in college, with little memory after he was atop of me, left with a cum stain on my pants, evidence of his win over me. Fought off another would-be rapist who, once I had him safely out of my dorm room thought it would be OK to knock on my door begging to be let back in. (For years I felt it was my fault for smiling coyly at him as I exited the elevator one late night. He followed me back to my room and I let him in not realizing the position I had put myself in.) The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee did nothing. Absolutely nothing about my complaint. Gang-raped at a party. 4 or 5 guys took turns on my own bed. I had wanted this one boy and was told to go into my bedroom room where he would be waiting for me. Instead of him,  3-5 other guys were there, waiting for me. I don't remember who, or how many. I want to say 3. They threw me on the bed and took turns raping me. I didn't fight. I acted in return because the thought of fighting them off was too horrific, so I complied. (No one would ever believe me now.) I'm about to faint as I type this. I kept calling out for the boy's name that I had hoped to see that night. His name was Dan. Finally, he came in, one of the other men when to get him. He finished me off. Rumors spread quickly that I was "pulling a train". “I’m a slut, they think.” Instead, I owned it. I tried to brag about it to the people who called me a slut. No one ever would believe me in court. A few close friends warned me to be careful of those boys, the rugby players. They said I could get raped. Funny, they didn't realize it was a rape because I was so ashamed and frightened by the thought that I had to push it out of my brain. I had to "not care" about it or it would ruin me forever. Today, I couldn't even name the men, not even the one I wanted. So I keep this story close. Not even my best gals knew about it until recently. No one knows. Except now you do.

“All these years I've been looking for an impossible love.” Marguerite Dumas, Hiroshima Mon Amore

Before some of this, at age 19, I was riddled with venereal warts. I was burned to oblivion by an over-zealous, self-righteous doctor who thought it funny when I wiggled and cried out in pain as she poured acid into my vagina. The scars left me unable to enjoy sex for the rest of my life. I went back weekly to her burning ritual, chastised for having sex with multiple partners.  So many complaints about this woman. Yet, a woman championed by her community for being an advocate, for paving the way for other women like her (sadists?) who might go on to be doctors, scientists, and leaders in the medical community. Worsencroft was her name. Dr. Worsencroft. And she worked at the UW-Milwaukee Newman Health Center in the '80s. Retired with accolades. Dead now.

Who would want me? Want ME, not my body, but ME?

Each year it gets worse. My body grows and the weight comes on. The gray is bolder. The lines are deeper. The face is rounder, that of an old woman. I look in the mirror and see beauty but no one else does. There is no masculine outside validation. Who would want me anyway? No one. I don’t even know what love really is. I don’t! I’m waiting for the day when even my son won’t want to be around me. They say it’s just around the corner. He’s 11. It should happen any moment now.

I read a book recently which stated that our children won’t even be buried with us. They move on. Start their own families. I won’t even be buried by my son. I am alone. I will die alone, or be buried alone. Or cremated, but where? Where to put the ashes. Perhaps that’s not even my problem to worry about. And I’m too far ahead into the future right now.

So the depression enveloped me Monday. I slept on the sofa. Then sat there for the rest of the day until it was time for bed. I managed to clean the litter box — the hefty aroma oozing throughout the house without relief. Not even time allowed me the comfort of getting used to it. It stank. And the cat, in heat, sang all day and all night, caterwauling into the morning hours.

Today I managed to knock a few things off my list. Soon makeup and hair. At 5pm I get my roots done so that will help. I need to get this place picked up before I pick up Oliver Wednesday morning. Not them again. Here I go back to his place, into enemy territory, a place that bombs me with shame. A place where I gasp for air, trying to escape drowning in their contempt. “Don’t give them your power.” Can you show me how? No one, not the past 9 years of weekly and sometimes twice-weekly therapy sessions have shown me how to not let their opinion and disproval of me affect me.