It’s Been Ten Months

It’s Been Ten Months

The other morning for the first time in I don’t know how long I woke up and thought about writing on my blog and it didn’t fill me with dread or send me into a tailspin of anxiety or the whirlwind of obsessive thoughts. I just thought: oh yeah I guess I could write.

Last fall when our house flooded and we had to leave was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I guess. I already had three children in treatment for anxiety disorders. Mental health and keeping things together for my family became the focus of my life and writing for an audience here in this space somehow didn’t seem possible. It broke, not when we were living in rental houses, but when we returned home and I was trying to unpack, make house, and reinvent a new normal after so much disruption.

Three children in therapy and taking medication… but getitng help for my own anxiety seemed impossible– the paradox is that the illness prevents you from seeking the treatment. But one day, early this fall, I did it. I was seeing my doctor about a mysterious rash on my hands and I asked her — I was hoping for a referral but she talked about long wait lists and, well, in the end while we agreed that formal diagnosis and treatment from mental health professionals was a longer term goal, but in the short term she agreed to trial buspirone for me. And after some weeks on the lowest dose, we upped it. And now… it’s like the almost-invisible white noise of static stopping. You have lived with it so long you no longer hear it but some part of you is braced constantly against the onsluaght of the noise. And then you slip in ear buds which cancel out the white noise and the silence is bliss.

I don’t know how often I will write or what. But I do know that writing here feels possible again. I’m in the season of teenagers– I have three now. This isn’t an easy season. My children face challenges too. Among the five of them they have dyslexia, anxiety, depression, adhd, and now a diagnosis of autism for at least one child and possibly more pending. We’re still homeschooling, but it looks very little like I expected it to all those years ago when I started out. It’s still the right choice for us, but it’s also much more complicated than I ever thought it would be. Many things I expected and hoped for have fallen away as I adapt to the reality in front of me each day, the unique persons my children are and their individual needs and the crisis du jour. And oh I could do better. I fail so often, but here we are in the middle years, in the middle of the way, in the messy muddle, and it’s still good despite the flaws. Different but good.

All the kids are in BSA scouts and loving it. At the same time we don’t go on as many homeschool outings as we used to. I miss them, and hope there will be seasons of museums and hikes and zoos and things once again. But right now those also are barely-possible.

I have been writing poetry. Not steadily, but on and off. I’ve written some journal entries here and there– for my computer’s eyes only. But blogging felt like an emotional minefield for some reason. Who can explain. Some part of my brain got trapped in a kind of obsessive perfectionism and nothing seemed good enough, no time auspicious enough. My thoughts were tangled and I couldn’t get out of the labyrinth. And now that I’m out I have no idea how I came to be lost there in the first place.

At some point I’d like to tell you about some of the books I’ve read in the past year or so, about some of the thoughts I’ve had. Or maybe I won’t. Who knows. But for now, maybe just maybe I can see myself coming back here to figure out what I want this space to be. I’ve missed you, dear blog. Thank you for waiting patiently for me.

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  • Dear Melanie, I saw your post in in the Darwin’s blogroll and jumped to it 🙂 So beautiful to hear your voice again! Take your time, and know that your readers really do not expect perfection.

  • I have missed your writing. I enjoy reading what books and art you are into. Oftentimes I have found something unexpected and delightful. My oldest is 12 and it is good to see what your kids do for school. I have learned a lot.
    Thank you!

  • Welcome back, Melanie! I hope these Advent days ahead bring more peace and light to you and your family. The last line of your post reminds me of how I sometimes feel posting after weeks of not writing. Dear little blog. Is it a place or a space or a thing or a someone? Whatever it is, it feels familiar, familial, an object of affection. No need for perfection!

  • I want to say how honored I am to have had you become a friend and to see the honest messiness in your beautiful family. We’re all in the mess, at least, together.

    And thank God for anxiety support.

    • I am likewise honored to have you as a friend and to get to know your beautiful family too. It’s good to have friends to trudge through the mess together with. (Argh that sentence isn’t working but I’m too tired to figure out what it should be.) And yes, thank God for anxiety support.

  • Welcome back to yourself. What a terrible ordeal to endure along with your children.

    I found you back when you first married and had babies. Then I drifted away, but checked on you all via Dom’s blog.

    Something made me check on you today, God perhaps? I will put you and yours on my prayer list.

    Everyone muddles through life. If you get two weeks off the cross here and there, it’s normal, then a new challenge hits.

    I miss being the mom of, “Mom?” but that’s because I’m old and frail and even my children no longer have children at home and I am remembering family life via old photos of smiling times. The reality is that of relentless concern and precariousness.

    You are a very brave woman to immerse yourself in full-time child rearing and homeschooling. There is a reason that people send their children to school — selfishly for the break.

    You are even braver to blog about it and admit your failures as well as your successes. Carry on bravely!

    • Thank you so much for your prayers and your encouragement. Thank you for checking on me. I’m so glad you did. And I’m sorry about being so slow in responding. My blog used to send me email notifications of new comments, but that seems to have been disabled and I don’t know how to reenable it, so now I have to remember to come look to see if there are comments and I’m now completely out of the habit.

      • You and yours are still on my prayer list. Just checking in and glad that you are back to blogging in spite of a busy life.

        How amazing that your baby is 10. Life will really start to speed up as first one then another child leaves the next. The first is very painful, the others, less so, but still a wrench. Their successes will be joyful. You and Dom have given them safe and moral starts. Bravo!

          • Checking on yu and yurs again.

            I see from earlier posts that your life is intensely involved in schooling and just living. It sound like it is under control and that you don’t have time to, and don’t need to, blog about it. That sounds quite normal and I don’t know how you managed to do all that you did.

            May the effort and love you pour into your family redound to abundant blessings as your children branch out into their adult lives.

            Prayers for and blessings to you all.

  • I just found your blog looking for something interesting to read about Rumer Godden. I wholeheartedly agree with you that Rumer is precisely not an escapist. And your writing is well crafted and enjoyable. I delight in the allusions sprinkled in. Thank you. May the middle way not be without the memory of the beginning.