Category Archives: meltdown

Mental Health month


It has been almost a year, and I feel like I am in a place that I can write about it. I mostly want to write about it for me, I strangely feel that if I put it on paper maybe I can prevent it from happening again. I also hope it might help someone traveling a similar road.

When I think back on memories of the past, I see colors as well as the memory. August is usually golden, May – green, November – shades of brown, January is usually sky blue. I don’t know why, I don’t really know how to adequately explain it, but it is, and it has been for as long as I can remember.

When I think back on last July, it is black. Pitch black, no flicker of light. I had never been in this place before, I was unsure how to navigate through. I couldn’t find a map, who am I kidding, I could not even look for a map.

Since Jason passed, July and August are typically tough months for me. In the beginning I thought that was it, just another little bit of a sad time. Before I really knew what was happening my mind had spiraled out of control. Scarier than the sadness was the anxiety, I did not know where it came from, or recognize it until it was big and scary. I could not grocery shop without my heart racing, several times I couldn’t finish. I raced to the check out, I raced home and shut the door like I was being chased. I did not want to go anywhere; I didn’t want to do anything. I struggled to articulate it to my husband. He struggled to know how to help.

I cried often, I was angry, I was scared, I was all the dark emotions. The only thing that got me to work most days was the fact that Tim and I work in the same place. I spent most of the month with my office door closed because I could not do people. I wanted my home, my room, my bed, my quilt, my pillow, my sleep, my silence. It was a black month, I couldn’t even pray.

I saw my oncologist late in the month, toward the end of the appointment I casually mentioned I was feeling anxious. She spun her chair towards me, pulled up close and asked me to tell her about it. I did, I told her all of it. I told her about the black hole I was in and that I did not know how to get out. I told her how tired I was of feeling sad, and how I hated feeling anxious. I told her I was scared. I told her the depth of it that I had been afraid to utter, as if speaking it might make it more true or more real. She listened. Then she talked about some options, about how trauma can build up. She told me how common PTSD is in cancer patients. She did not tell me to snap out of it or get over it. She told me to give myself a break, not to be hard on myself, she told me I was going to be okay.

So, something happened, instead of making it more real, it was already as real as it was going to get, speaking it lifted a dark veil. Speaking it made it less scary, speaking it began the healing.

I am almost a year away from the blackest of it. I take medicine and supplements to support my health, all of my health. I talk as openly about my anxiety as I do my cancer. I want to help move mental health out of the shadows until we just say health, and don’t feel like we must qualify it as mental or physical.

Do I still have moments? Yep. Are they black? Nope. I have tools now to recognize it before it overtakes me. I am not foolish enough to think that it can’t happen again, but I am on my guard. I’m not ashamed to ask for help, I have a support group who now knows this struggle is part of me.

If any part of this is you, talk to someone, please.  It get’s less scary every time you say it out loud. For me every time I say it out loud I feel like I am feeding the “light” and starving the “dark”. What I feed grows.

May is mental health month, let’s take this stuff out of the shadows and the dark. Let’s make a mental check up as common as a physical or a teeth cleaning. Let’s take the stigma out of asking for help. Let’s give the gift of this freedom to the next generation. What if we could say, “I’m feeling anxious, I need to stop and take a few deep breaths” as easily as we say “I’m getting a headache, I need to rest my eyes for a few minutes”? What if . . .


What I have learned about grief

flowerGrief is sneaky. Out of the blue grief sneaks up on me. I do my best to prepare for the anniversaries, the times I know it will be hard. But it pops up, unwanted and unexpected.

Grief is strong. When grief hits it can take me down to the ground. Swiftly, I am out of breath and drowning.

Grief does not play fair. I make deals with grief, it can come when I am prepared, when I am ready to take it on, we have an agreement. Grief does not always abide by that agreement.

Grief is a thief. It sneaks in, uninvited, like a bull in a china shop, breaking our agreement and tries to steal my joy.

This is what I have learned about my grief. I say “my grief”, because everyone has a different grief visiting them, not all griefs are the same.

I have learned to give grief a time limit, especially when it shows up unannounced and bullies me into a puddle of tears. I give my grief  time and attention but with limits. I give myself permission to cry, a lot if I need to. I give myself permission to be sad, very, very sad, if I need to.

And then I invite grief to leave.

These are some ways I encourage my grief to leave; I go outside and soak up some nature. I listen to praise music, I read the psalms. I take a walk/run to get some good brain chemicals active. I count my blessings. I do something creative. I feed my soul. I pray.

I don’t always feel like I want to do these things, but I do them. I am persistent, I keep at it until grief finally gives in. Until it packs up it’s baggage and leaves.

So today, I am being persistent, grief swooped in yesterday and knocked me to my knees, but today I am standing. I am inviting grief to leave without taking my joy with it. Having cried myself to sleep last night in the wonderful arms of my understanding husband, I am sitting in my garden this morning. Worship is music playing, I watch the birds drink from the sprinkler, and the momma and poppa swallows try to keep up with the feeding of the littles. I am preparing for a prayerful walk/run with psalms of praise running through my mind.

I will not let grief overtake me. I have so much to be grateful for, I love my life, I will not let grief rob me of my joy.


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ps 23

I had a day


I had a day last week that I have been pondering, still unsure of where it came from and what to think of it. Maybe if I write it down I can process it a little better.

This day I wanted to take a break, it was more than that, but I am even having a hard time explaining how I felt. I wanted to not be a mom whose son was dead, I wanted to not be a manager, I did not want to knit, I did not want to not knit. I did not want to take a run, I did not want to not take a run. I did not want to sit out in Jason’s garden, I did not want the reason for it. I did not want to cry, I did not want to feel, I did not want to be sad, I did not want to be happy. I did not want to do anything, I did not want to be idle.

Does any of that make sense? I have heard the expression “stop the world and get off” but have never felt it like I felt it that day. I was at a loss with what to do with myself, I was restless and lifeless all at the same time.

So, I put on my favorite Christian praise station, put on my headphones and made myself take a run. I really did not want to, and I really did not want to not want to.(Hope that makes any kind of sense.)

This is what I sorted out on my run, the fireworks tents started going up this week, these mark the beginning of Jason’s end. I also realized that my favorite season will forever hold some sadness, I am a summer gal, but it holds some darkness now. (I don’t really like that.)

By the end of the run, I felt like I had run to the arms of my heavenly father and he held me close. I cried, we had a long talk. Then I sat in the arms of my husband and he held me close.The world was okay again.

I am a blessed woman, my amazing daughter is just that, amazing. My two step children remind me every day of the love between siblings, and they make me smile. I cannot say enough about my wonderful husband, he makes sure I live the most carefree life possible. He makes sure I feel loved and cherished. And last but certainly not least, my heavenly father who is never more than a breath away.

Yes, the world is okay again, I have regained my balance. I am truly blessed beyond measure.

Is. 43:1-2, 4
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to Me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.

Lessons learned

Creativity Boot Camp Day Seven - Ornament

This week I have been searching books, the internet, for anything written about the loss of a child. There is tons out there for grieving parents of infants, not too much for grieving parents of adult children.  It is almost like the loss of an adult child is not as tragic. I did find one site that had some insight about the loss of an adult child that really rang true, they stated that often when you lose an adult child you also lose a friend, because the relationship has morphed into something different than just parent/child. I think this might be even more true with single parents. I know in my case, Jason and Chelsey were/are my friends as well as my children. We have always been close, but as they grew into their teens and then adulthood, our relationships changed. We became friends also, I watched Jason and Chelsey’s relationship change from sibling to  friendship. Chelsey and I not only lost a child/sibling, but a friend too. There is not much out there on this and I wonder why? Even so, this past week I have found many articles and have had conversations that are helping me sort out these new feelings/symptoms.

I think this may be a bit of a disjointed post hopefully you will bear with me, I would like to put all of this down in one spot,  sort it out and look at it. Help me make sense of these new waves of grief. I came across an online magazine called Still Standing, I was interested just because of the title. It is kinda my motto right now, I am still standing. I might get knocked down from time to time but in the end, I am still standing. There was an article I read this morning called Learning to Grieve, it really confirmed somethings that I learned or rediscovered this week. Grieving is not something we really know how to do, it is something we have to learn. It is  different for everyone and every situation. It talks about the waves of grief that hit us. A quote from that article hit home:
I feel gratitude to my own little girls who taught me to fly as I learned how to grieve them. It is a skill that makes me a better person and hopefully a better friend. It my greatest joy to share my girls with others who are in pain so the lessons they taught me can help me to help others. Our losses are our most painful gift. They are our most bittersweet blessing and I believe that when they are done burning through our very souls, they leave among the ashes little flames inside us. Flames that can ignite into fires that have the power to truly change the world. – Standing Still, Learning to Grieve by Tova

So, I wonder if the grief ever really goes away or if it just takes different forms and it becomes part of who we are.  I wonder if I will ever be able to count it as a blessing.

My sister-in-law, Mendi, and I were “talking” this week by email and messaging. She likened the physical symptoms I seem to be having now to tsunamis. I really grabbed on to that, that is what felt like this week, that I had been hit by a tsunami and I was barely keeping my head about the surface of the water. If I am honest I was completely underwater. This is what I came away with after processing that word picture and after reading many articles on grief.  Jason’s death was an earthquake, an off the Richter scale earthquake, and the waves that are hitting me now, the tsunami and aftershocks, should be expected. They are natural consequences of the disaster that occurred  These waves will continue to come, and I will be knocked down, but I know that if I ask for help, and I turn to my heavenly father, I will get up and stand again. And as with all aftershocks, they will eventually get smaller, and easier to withstand. They will become normal tides where I can wade with out fear of being overcome.


I also realized this week that I was letting my mind fill with lies, lies that I should be stronger than this, I should be further along than this, I must not have enough faith, belief, etc. . . . . Thursday I went back to work, I turned the pages on my Dayspring devotional calendar, this is what was on Thursday’s date:

The lies pile up until I stop believing and finally knock them over. The tower of deceit crashed down. Not with my faith or my hope or with anything but with my blessing. Saying the name of the Lord over and over:

Jehovah Jireh – God our Provider

Jehovah Shalom – God of Peace

Jehovah Rapha – God who heals

Elohim – God Almighty

Emmanuel – God with us

Ancient of Days.



What power in just a name!

Arianne Segerman – To Think is to Create

So, I say these names, Jehovah Shalom – God of Peace, I need that, peace of mind, Jehovah Rapha – God who heals, I need this too, healing.

At the end of this last week and the beginning of the new, I am thankful for all of the grace shown to me this week, for the lifelines thrown out to me. I am grateful for all the others who have shared their experiences so that while I travel this road I have a map of sorts to help me keep my bearings. I am thankful for my husband who holds me and just lets me be and do what I need. I am grateful for a daughter who just comes to spend time with me, for my sister-in-law who helped me sort out my “crazy” feelings. I am eternally thankful for a heavenly father, who asked only that I stand, and carries me like a lamb through the dark places. (Isaiah 40:11)

At the end of this week and the beginning of a new – I am not quite flying or soaring yet but – I stand.

POTD 10 - 13

time out


He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart; Isaiah 40:11

For the last two days I have been in self imposed time out. I have been waking up from nightmares in a panic attack. I could live with that, however unwelcome, but Monday at work I fought them off all day. Some what successfully, I hope. I gulped down sobs all day. Some what successfully, I hope.

So I took a time out, to regroup, recharge. To focus on what is going on inside my head and heart. Alone, with God, time to just dig down deep, really to rebuild some reserves. I am short on that, emotional reserve. I had run out, I had not a drop of reserve left. These last two days have been  much needed.

I have re-remembered somethings these last two days. I need to get my body moving, I need to get those natural endorphins flowing. Movement is a great stress reliever also. I need to be more open and ask for help before I get to meltdown. I need to take a few steps back every once in a while. I need to recharge on a more regular basis. I am still not sure how that looks, I can’t just drop out of life on regular intervals, but I know that I need to take some time regularly to recharge. I need to remember to ask my heavenly Father for help on a more regular basis, I need to really rest in his arms and let him carry me. I need to be more honest about how I really am inside, and not pretend that everything is okay, when it isn’t.

I am just about ready to face the world again tomorrow,renewed, rested and recharged.

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Thankfulness interrupted


I began the month of November wanting to write every day about all that I am thankful. I wanted to give more than just a quick sentence about each thing, but for some unknown reason I have been hit by a multitude of migraines over the last few weeks. This has really wiped me out. So I did not accomplish that goal of writing about each thing, but I did take the time to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for, which is much.

I have had migraines in the past, usually one every few months at the most. In the last 3 weeks I have had about 7 of them. I have been trying to figure the reasons for the sudden rash of migraines.

Some one suggested stress, at first I dismissed this. I keep thinking if it were stress then wouldn’t I have had them when Jason was in the hospital and then when he passed? Then I got to thinking, maybe I was too numb, maybe I am just now feeling the stress of it, maybe it has taken my body this long to catch up with reality.

I tend to handle tough events in this way; I go into what I will call control mode at a time of crisis. I get my list together, if only in my head, but there is a list, and then I act. I am calm and in control. I do what needs to be done, quickly and efficiently. Then when the crisis has passed, that is when I fall apart. When it is all over, I finally feel the reality of the thing.

When my mom passed, this was my first true tragedy, well besides my divorce, but when she passed, I acted. I gathered my children and moved in with my dad so he did not have to live alone. It wasn’t until six months later that I let myself feel the loss, and I fell apart, a little. I am a bit of a control freak so I don’t let myself fall apart easily, and then not for very long, especially when my kids were young.

When my dad had his last stroke, and Monica called me to the hospital. Again, I stood strong, dealt with the decisions that needed to be made. I watch my dad leave this earth for the arms of Jesus. This time though, Tim was there, making me take care of my needs also. This was very new and foreign to me, and still I did not let myself feel the impact until it was all over, and much later. It was months again, before I felt it fully. The fact that I had no earthly parents.

When my grandma passed 2 months after Jason, same story, different verse.

When my first marriage fell apart, with great determination, I gathered my children, we made a life and home. I did not fall apart, I was strong, I never let myself feel the full impact of this. Not until this wonderful man entered my life. I began to fall in love with him, and then all the hurt and pain I had not dealt with bubbled up to the surface. “Stuff”  long forgotten, so buried and that I had fooled myself into thinking I had dealt with it. 23 years later I finally began really dealing with the “stuff”. I am amazed that Tim hung around while I was sorting out the hurt. I am so grateful he did.

Then the most horrific tragedy I have ever been faced with, Jason’s passing. Again, I gathered my list, did what needed to be done. Marched through, quickly and efficiently because this is what I do. This is who I am. And maybe just now I am feeling it. The full impact. Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen apart many times, cried until I thought I might never stop. I have had my days of fog that I thought would never lift. But maybe just now, my body is feeling the stress of it. Maybe this is the way my body is dealing with the new reality. Maybe as we come up on this season of holidays where family and friends gather, I am feeling the full impact. I am not sure anyone ever deals with the loss of a child, but maybe this is a step in the process of healing. Letting go of the stress of it, maybe my body is dealing with the stress in this manner. Maybe by putting my feelings to words will help. Who knows, time will tell.

But this I know, I am thankful for this life my Heavenly Father has chosen for me. Yes, I am even thankful for all the crisis that he has given to me, for these things have made me who I am, and have lead me to this place now. This life I love. So while I have not written in detail about my thankful list, I want to say I am thankful for a Heavenly Father that sees me, and knows my name, and has carried me through it all to this place. I am thankful for the privilege of raising two amazing children to be amazing adults. I am thankful for the godly parents God gave me. I am thankful for the amazing life partner he gave me. Tim has been my rock, my steady in the storms of the last couple years.

This continues to be the cry of my heart, God is good, all the time. I am eternally grateful to him for this life of mine.

It was the spaghetti

Monday I had a total meltdown. Several actually.

It started Sunday night, if you read the previous post you will see I did not have a great Saturday morning, but I had recovered, mostly.

Sunday started out as a great day, long morning snuggles with my amazing husband, then a drive to the coast. It was rainy so we got home early. I decided to make a couple dinners for the next week, some cheeseburger soup and spaghetti. At some point that evening I started to feel so sad. I could not shake it. I knitted like crazy, I still could not identify a why, I could not pull myself out of it.

I slept fitfully that night, had several bad dreams. The next day I could not shake the “yuck”. I was useless at work, I should have stayed home but I had just had a three day weekend and could not justify calling in because I had “the yuck”.

So I went to work, and melted down. I spent most of the day in my office, avoiding people.  They avoiding me, for the most part, I had a look about me. (That is what they told me today J)

I tried to put a finger on it, I missed Jason, I missed my mom, I missed my dad. What triggered this “yuck”? How can I function if I don’t know why or when these times will hit? Do I need medication? What was going on?

We got home I started cleaning, not because I wanted to but because I felt like if I sat down right then I might never get up. I would stay there, pull the covers over my head and just never get up.

The bathroom was cleaned, the dining room was cleaned, the kitchen was cleaned, then I then I started dinner. As I was making the noodles and heating the sauce I thought I wished Jason was here to taste the sauce and tell me what it needed. Then it hit me – that was it. It was the spaghetti. Of all the things, spaghetti???

This was Jason’s meal, his favorite from toddlerhood, his specialty when he started to cook. He would walk through the kitchen when I was making sauce, he would taste it, then start adding spices. His sauce was amazing.

As soon as I identified where the “yuck” came from, it started to leave. I slept well, I woke up rested, I made my apologies at work. I smiled and laughed. I healed a little more.

Spaghetti, who would have thought?