Posted by: Kate | January 5, 2011


Once upon a time, I had them. Exceptions, I mean, and in spades. I expected to finish my doctorate. I expected to have three children, maybe four if I could convince Willem. I expected to make it all the way to 35, maybe even 40 or 50, without even giving passing thought to things like disability income and a handicap tag on my minivan.

Right now, none of the above applies, which accounts for a fairly significant depression for me. I won’t finish my doctorate, because in 2005 I felt that I was facing a choice between my career and my family, and when things get boiled down that simply, it becomes a very easy choice. I won’t have a fourth child, and I’m barely able to care for my third, because of the catastrophic events following Isaac’s birth – and I can’t even write that simple sentence without tearing up, and every time a new health professional asks me to know the full story I go through the better part of a box of tissues trying to explain what happened to me. What didn’t happen to me. What was supposed to happen to me. I already have a handicap tag for the minivan, and have put off applying for Social Security only because the prospect is so final and daunting to me.

What do I expect now? That’s a hard, hard question. I was once the Golden Child: left high school a year early to start college, blazed my way through grad school while squeezing out babies every five years, never losing an argument with my husband because I was too damn smart. Then things started to erode… I didn’t finish my doctorate, I got sick, I can’t remember shit unless it’s written down. Never a huge loss at once (with the blazing exception of March), just a slow, constant loss of the functions I used to take for granted.

I need to figure out new expectations. I need to build a future for myself, because I simply cannot continue living day by day. Right now, my only firm reason for not simply overdosing and going to sleep permanently – and it truly is a firm reason, I promise – is the damage it would do to my husband and children. I need to find reasons to live on my own terms.

I just don’t know how.

Not a very cheerful entry, this week, but a Madhouse entry nonetheless. The other participants, regular and occasional, are listed… go visit them, guilt them into posting. Maybe one of them can make you smile today…

Allison – Allimonster Speaks
Barb – Spencer Hill Spinning & Dyeing
Batty – Batty’s Adventures in Spooky Knitting
Dave – Notes from the Field
Eileen – Art Deco Diva Knits
Evil Twin’s Wife – The Glamorous Life of a Hausfrau
G – Not-A-Box
Haley – Aimless Tangents <–new to the game!!
Heather – She Flies With Her Own Wings
Jennifer – Ask Poops, Please
JMLC – Daydreams and Ruminations
Kate – One More Thing
LC – LC in Sunny So Cal
LeeAnne – This is the life… <—new to the game!!
Lisa – As If You Care
Louise – Child of Grace
Marcy – Mittentime
Melanie – usually, things happen
Nikki – Land of the Free, Home of the Depressed
Peri – knitandnatter
Sara – yoyu mama



  1. You’ve had an unbelievably hard year. I can’t put myself in your shoes – I’ve never been in that situation. You’re still here, though. Here for your family and their love and support. Here for us to enjoy your words – and through reading your words for the past year or so, I know you are strong (I know you don’t feel that at this moment, but you are!). You are amazing and I have the utmost respect for you. {{{Hugs}}}

  2. I’m playing! I’m playing! Feel free to link me. I’m excited too, not that I think I wrote a winning blog entry or anything, but my resolution for the new year was to be better about blogging. I started yesterday, just with a general update, and today I was totally not feeling it. Then I saw that it was madhouse Wednesday, and I thought I’d give it a whirl! So thanks for the little nudge in the right direction!

  3. (((((( hugs )))))))

    I completely hate to see you feel like this, but it’s not like I don’t completely get it. I feel like I’m living a more-or-less charmed life these days, and I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to cope with the hits you’ve taken. I’d like to think I would be, but I am also wise enough to know that I never ever ever want to find out. You don’t feel it, I’m sure, but you really have shown amazing strength and resolve. You fought. You’re here. Sure, you’re scared — but what is the quote, bravery is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act in face of that fear? You’ve gotten the help you needed when you needed it, you’ve actively asked for it, you’re continuing to consider what steps you’ll need to take… it’s incredibly brave, even if it doesn’t really feel like it. I’m so proud of you.

  4. (and I think you just forgot to close a bold tag when you added LeeAnne to the list!)

  5. Thanks. I just wish it didn’t hurt so much.

  6. As long as you’re putting one foot in front of the other, you’re still making the grade. LOOK at what you’ve come through! You have strength I can only imagine!

  7. I’m going to join in this week.

  8. […] jumping in on Kate’s Madhouse theme for this week as some of the posts have spoken to […]

  9. You for now day to day is really a good way to live, yeah we don’t expect EVER to live that way but it happens, and I will never be able to tell you why. For about 4 years that is how I lived. I slowly rebuilt my dreams and self expectations, remodeled what coulda woulda shoulda and put it together. I dropped out of nursing school once and then went through hell and back (from my perspective) and was able to jump in with a whole new passion and direction for myself which ended up including nursing once again. I can see myself NOW (several years later) making changes either locally or larger and helping children and families who face similar situations. After much of the physical healing took place I was PISSED OFF beyond belief. I would look up the doctors who I believe caused the problems and watch them take very prestigous positions all over the country as I was left here to pick up the pieces and my husband was at work all the time trying to pay for the pieces we needed. I was bitter, angry and alone. It takes a lot of time to muddle through it all, you know the steps and sometimes you balance inbetween and bounce back and forth until ALL OF YOU HAS HEALED.
    I have grown and may not be the most articulate but I have passion and can use the passion that was pulled up inside of me to set those new expectations for myself. I think it is what keeps me on top of my childrens’ education NOW making sure that with a disability or not they are going to get a fair chance at learning and I am not backing down. I know with your drive prior to all of this it is hard to believe that healing takes so much time but it REALLY does! You are making HUGE & WONDERFUL strides, be patient and kind to yourself the expectations will come to you when it is time, but for it is healing. Love ya Kate, and I am here for you as you were here for me.

  10. I’m going to start playing along next week, I swear!

    The golden children are always the most vulnerable, I think. Life at the top of the game is precarious, but life in the middle can be quite grand. Give yourself a chance to settle into this new place, give yourself a chance to heal.

    And you’re right, 2011 cannot possibly be as bad as last year. Sending you love, and optimism, and well wishes. And a virtual buoy, because sometimes we all just need something to cling to.

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