I had to go back to fractions.
I mentioned how embarrassing that is to A and H, and commented that since it had been 20+ years since I did math that involved multiplying or dividing mixed number fractions my brain must have thought it was safe to delete those files. I’d spot them in an equation and my brain would just go blank and be unable to remember how to solve those equations. I was sure my brain must have replaced them with some bit of trivia, probably something that wasn’t even interesting in conversation.
I got to the section about multiplying a whole number with a fraction. Convert the whole number to a fraction. Really? My brain couldn’t hang on to such an easy bit of knowledge?
And then I remembered. I was pretty sure I’d done math like this while helping my oldest son, back when I was still homeschooling. It would have been somewhere around 5-6 years ago. I felt betrayed by my brain. I’d had a refresher course and still couldn’t remember this?
I remembered that 5-6 years ago I’d been experiencing the worst sleep deprivation of my life for a year or two. I was anemic. I was still exhibiting symptoms of what might have been PPD. It was a wonder I remembered the alphabet after that.
2015 was my worst year. It became a mantra of sorts – at least it’s not as bad as 2015.
It’s still not as bad as 2015.
I’ve had some bright spots this year that balance out the bad. In 2015, there was just one day when I felt kind of happy and relaxed, and the date is seared in my memory. March 30, 2015.
We put the older 3 kids in public school that fall. That took some of the pressure off me. For 6 months in 2016, I bounced back. I was almost myself again. And then the 2nd half of 2016 triggered another major depression, and I would not surface from that bout until after spraining my ankle the end of July 2018.
In 2015 I was still getting up every day. Still showering. Still taking care of my children. Still trying to triage the worst of the filth in the house. Sometimes I’d cry and cry, in the shower, or under the covers, while my kids played video games at the foot of our bed, hoping they wouldn’t notice.
In late 2015, or maybe it was early 2016, I finally talked to my doctor about my symptoms. She recommended a specific psychiatrist. When I looked her up, she specialized in co-morbid mental illness. I googled that and discovered it meant having more than one diagnosable mental illness at the same time. That was too much for me, I chickened out. I couldn’t handle the thought that I might have more than one mental illness.
I still had no idea how serious sleep deprivation was or the kind of impact it could have on mental health. I didn’t know that a cluttered, filthy, chaotic environment could worsen symptoms of anxiety.
I wish my family could relive those years as me. See how I was pushing myself. In the conversation Saturday night after Thanksgiving, my stepfather had snapped at me ‘life doesn’t guarantee happiness!’
Well, I’m pretty sure we need to have more than one day of happiness per year, fuckers.
A and H listened sympathetically. Well, you should have just been a normal person, then, and turned to alcohol and painkillers, H quipped.
My mom wouldn’t have approved of those, either.
H was right, though, when he said they would probably have been more sympathetic if I had gone that route. People like traditional markers showing that you’re falling apart.
It felt surreal to have had fractions spark that trip down memory lane.
And maybe that’s why my brain had dropped those files. Looking at those fractions, my brain was like ‘I see this requires accessing 2015, I’m pretty sure neither of us want to do that, right? How about I just pretend there’s nothing there, instead!’