Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Honest to a Fault ....

.... is what I can sometimes be .... I think.
Some people do not enjoy my honesty on my personal blog.
I've learned to hold back on some things ..... things that will have an effect on those I love. Although sometimes holding back puts me in a very, very lonely place.
I wish that I could just pour out every single feeling that comes my way when something happens that I don't know how to handle.
But I can't.
Not on that blog.
Unless I can figure out a way to make that blog unreadable for some people, yet readable to anyone who finds solace or hope or support or just plain understanding here.
Those are the people that I really write for. The ones on this path with me.
The people who read this blog.
And I know that I can be totally honest and open here.

Yes, the honesty helps my friends and family to understand me better .... the me that stays hidden most days.
But it also can embarrass or unfortunately, offend others .... when that is never my intent.
I just write.
I write what I feel.
And I write what I think other widows/widowers can relate to or feel.

So, in spite of maybe being too honest for some people .... I'm forging ahead today.

I have not kept the fact that I am on anti-depressants a secret.
I started taking them approximately 2 to 3 months after Jim died.
I started taking them when I started thinking of suicide regularly and the thought of my 6 children didn't matter any more.
Fortunately I still had the wherewithal at that time to know this was a very dangerous sign.
So I went to my doctor, who doesn't like to mix meds and grieving, but once she asked a few followup questions she immediately changed her mind and started me on them that day.
Smart lady.

They helped.
They didn't stop the thoughts, but the thoughts never became plans.
Until last summer.
When I had a couple of very close calls.
I did not plan them.
I just lost complete control .... maybe what some people would call a nervous breakdown.
And I knew, without a doubt, that I could not do this anymore.
Fortunately God put the right person in the right place at the right time.
And I did not succeed.
Now I can see that was a good thing.
Then .... not so much.

So back to my doctor I went.
She prescribed a bigger dose and an extra med.

And I slowly started feeling better.
Very, very slowly.
One step, heck ... back to one breath .... at a time.

Fast forward to a year later.
The past 6 months have been good.
Better all of the time.
Don't get me wrong .... I still have some days when I take one or two steps backwards, but those days are few and far between. I'm sure they'll always be with me.

I went to my doctor earlier this week and told her that I wanted to try to get weaned off of these meds.
She looked rather skeptical.
And a little worried.
She asked why.
I told her that I'd never had to take them before Jim died and I'd just like to see if I can live without them.
I don't think she's so certain that I can.
But she's working with me.

I am on half a dose for 2 weeks.
Then that dose every other day for 2 more weeks.
And then off completely after that.
Two weeks later I go in to see her.

If I have a "depressive episode" any time during those 6 weeks .... I go back on the meds.
For the rest of my life.
I'm not opposed to that .... I'd just like to see if it's necessary.

Why am I telling you, mostly complete strangers, all of this?
Because .... I know that I am not alone.
And because ..... the more people who know this .... the more people who will be aware of any changes in me that need to be noted.
C knows.
He's a bit worried.
I think he's more worried that he won't see something that needs to be seen.
I think he will.

I need to be able to tell the difference between just feeling sad (which sometimes happens when you're a widow/widower) and feeling depressed.
It's a fine line.
One that I'm not sure I can see anymore.

So there you go.
Probably not the uplifting post you thought you'd read today.
But .... it's an honest one.
For good or bad.

I hope that in being honest about this part of my life I am able to make a connection with someone else who reads this.
And let that person know that he/she is not alone in this.
Not by a long shot.

Thanks, friends.
For being there.
And for those who comment.
The comments are great encouragement.
They mean a lot.


  1. You are sooooo brave and I can't wait to see you in a few weeks to give you a giant hug. Love to you Janine, you're fantastic, and your honesty is exactly perfect for this blog.

  2. I want you to know that you are definately not alone in your feelings about wanting to be with your deceased love. my thoughts on this did not reach the level of planning my death, Although, there were times I thought about it and felt that's I could be reunited with my husband. Before going grieving for my husband, I could not understand why anyone else could feel that way, but now I know how! I am just gald that you did not succed, because I know your partner would not have wanted this, especially since you have children. As for being honest, keep doing it, because you only cheat yourself and others of real life and of a way of not feeling alone in our experience in grieving. Others can not understand how painful it is to lose your partner. I have lost my grandparents, mom and my brother as a young women.But these loses do not compare to losing my husband at the age of 45! Grieving him has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! So please understand there are others who are struggling too, Your strength comes in the fact that you realize that you need help. It was something that I do had to realize that I need to ask for all kinds of help that I never would have before, being the independant women I am! My thoughts are with you, hanging there because we need your words to help the rest of us!

  3. You are very brave and honest and I thank you from the bottom of my many people just do not understand,family, friends they all mean well but until you have walked in these shoes you dont know....Thank you

  4. Thank you and bless you for your honesty. *hugs*

  5. I agree with Michelle. You are SO brave. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life and for helping me to not feel weak in choosing to take meds since my husband died suddenly 4 months ago. You are a true inspiration.

  6. You are not alone, and I can't wait to give you a hug in person, too! See you in a few weeks! xoxo

  7. Thank You for sharing, I am on antidepressants for PTSD I know far to well all about the thoughts of suicide. It the thought of my family that saved me. How could I put them through that.

  8. I came across the widow blog a little over a year ago, when I needed help coping with my emotions and my grieving 9 year old daughter. You are the first person I have commented on in response to a blog. Although I am not a widow, I am a grieving mother who lost the father of my daughter, last year in June. Our situation was very unique but we were a blended family. My daughter's father was my best friend, and was my first love...first for everything. My heart hurt for my daughter's loss, and I was angry with God for choosing our daughter to be alone with her daddy when he died. I felt quilty for sending her for a visit because it wasn't a scheduled visit. I felt guilty for being alive because of the milestones he will miss as our daughter grows up....I guess my point is that I was so concerned for our daughter that I forgot about myself. And all this grief that I had bottled in for over 7 months finally came crashing down on me. I had no choice but to deal with it. I talked to my doctor and told her what I was feeling and just lost it. She put me on some medication in Aug 2009 and I have been on it ever since. I also joined a support group at the time, but have been slowly going to less meetings. Medication really does help. It continues to help me daily. I commend you for your honesty. I felt your email to be inspiring and that it is okay to be on medication. Thank you for sharing your journey with me.


  9. Thank you for your honesty! Not only are you showing us that we aren't alone, but hopefully we are showing you that you aren't. I love all that you write, happy or sad, and I believe that no matter what your honesty is a blessing. Again, THANK YOU!!

  10. Thank you Janine for your honest post today. I read it through tear filled eyes, shaking my head in agreement. Today is 11 weeks since my husband was killed; I know I need help. I have made an appointment for next week. Thank you.

  11. I knew depression before I knew grief. They are different. They have a different flavor. But you can mix them, like strawberries and bananas--only less tasty. Sometimes it's hard to tell where one begins and the other ends...

    Thanks for sharing with us, sweetie.


  12. Lori from San DiegoAugust 1, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I am so grateful for your post. I was ripped a part by a very well meaning family member a week ago for being so honest in my on-line posts.

    I feel everything you described above. It does provide some relief to know I am not alone.

    I hope to run into you at Camp Widow so, with your permission, I can give you a thank you hug.

  13. Thank you for your honesty and post that hits home. You are not alone, and I guess I am not either. I can so relate, I feel that the only reason I have made it this far was holding on to a plan in mind so that I too could be with my husband. I am trying to turn this around and let go of the plan and thought, with the help of my grief counselor and my brother. All others just don't get the overwhelming, devastating loss of a very much loved spouse causes. Hugs of comfort ......

  14. Thanks for sharing in the post. It has been helpful to me. I have also started an antidepressant since I have become depressed since the death of my mom a year ago. I'm pretty sure I have complicated grief, but at the same time have the symptoms of depression. I haven't been on it for long, but I feel it has started to help in regards to motivation and daily activities. I still have a long way to go in dealing with my mother's death and I'm not expecting it to be a quick-fix.

  15. Thank you, Janine. Finally I feel I'm not hopeless, helpless, alone, and crazy. Do you mind if I ask which antidepressant you were prescribed? I know what works for one may not work for another, I'm just trying to learn as much as possible about something that might help. Thanks and blessings to you for the generosity of your honesty. Most of us just sit around; you did something to help others. Stay strong.

  16. Hello Genevive. This blog was written by Janine in July 2010. You can find our current Widow's Voice blogs on the Soaring Spirits International web site. Here's where you'll find them: