At 9:45 a.m. on Friday, December 17, 2010 that carefully constructed, thin membrane that protects me from chaos, disorder and depression was destroyed. Having spent most of Wednesday night changing passwords and scanning my laptop to remove a virus, I was exhausted. Somewhere around Thursday, the kitchen began accumulating everyone’s clutter and the counter top on the island was barely visible. By Friday morning, in the 10 minutes before I was to head out the door for Gwen’s preschool Christmas celebration, Kate’s hand suffered a cut that her grandmother tearfully declared was in need of stitches. Kate sat before me looking freaked out and pale, with a towel wrapped around her tiny hand. Gwen’s celebration was in 20 minutes. I had just the one car. I can’t even begin to explain the meltdown that began in my brain.
I had to call David at work and ask him to come home to take Birdie to the hospital for stitches. As I ran for the phone to call the pediatrician, my shin connected with the dishwasher door that had been left open. I saw stars as I fell forward and screamed a loud, filthy word. My mother, still crying over Kate’s gash, left the room. The phone was thrown across the kitchen as I limped around trying to reign in my thoughts and walk off the excruciating pain in my leg. Unable to control what was happening, the chaos finally took me out at the knees. I felt the darkness that had been lying dormant begin to grow and gather strength. I looked at the clock and saw that I now had just ten minutes to get to Gwen’s party. As I limped out the door, my mother told me that I should rub my leg to avoid a bruise. I wanted to scream.
The drive to Gwen’s party was horrible. The guilt I felt over not being with Kate for a visit to the hospital and stitches was overwhelming. I beat myself up for allowing someone else to watch her while I got ready for the Christmas party. Under my watch, I can control what she touches and where she climbs.
Halfway to the preschool and running late, I realized that I had left the house without my camera. On top of everything, I wouldn’t have a single photograph of Gwen’s preschool holiday celebration. The darkness swirled with renewed strength and grew with each moment. I told myself to take deep breaths and let it go. I told myself that Kate would be fine without me. I tried to convince myself that calling my husband home for emergency reasons was acceptable. His company would understand why their Senior Counsel needed to leave. There is absolutely no inconvenience there, right?
Gwen was beautiful and silly with her construction paper antlers and her little nose painted Rudolph red. She sang and giggled. I don’t have a single photo. She gave me a precious gift, handmade for Christmas and ate treats with her friends and their little siblings. I wistfully thought of Kate and how much she would have enjoyed the afternoon. The darkness swelled and I winced as I thought of the battle ahead.
Suddenly David was there with Gwen and me. He stopped in to tell me that Kate’s gash was just a small cut. She didn’t need stitches. The drama and tears had only served to give me that final push into the depths of disorder and ultimately, opened the door to that monster called depression. I’ve been battling it all weekend. I slept for several hours yesterday afternoon after manically scrubbing the bathrooms. I’ve taken my medicine each morning. I try to get the monster back under control and I’m not sure I can. Trying to regain order in the house and get the kids reorganized is too much when I feel this way. I’m on edge. I don’t want to be. I wonder what it would be like to reach inside and rip this swirling, angry darkness from my body. What would it feel like to not revisit every painful word or clueless, selfish act? How would it be if I didn’t internalize the narcissism of others? What if I didn’t take so personally their patterns of selfish behavior? What would it feel like to be normal? How would it be to deal with only Joe’s ADHD and his organization and focus? How would be different if the people in our lives attempted to fully understand the quirks that each of us has?
This afternoon I will lace up my sneakers and run. Perhaps running will help.