We didn’t get the winds that were expected, but we’re getting rain. Not fierce, pounding rain. The kind that is comforting to listen to on the roof.
Do you remember my writing about an elderly neighbor who fell in the garage weeks ago? Unfortunately she passed away yesterday afternoon. So we’ve lost one of the “group” in our small cul-de-sac. Here on what I refer to as “Wisteria Circle.”
I was not close to her. Still, there is sadness. At the way it ended. Basically on the cement floor of her garage in the dark of night. Her stepson told me she had gone out to see the moon. She was like that. She would tell you to watch for the moon some nights, when you happened to encounter one another at the mailbox. “It’s really going to be something to see tonight,” she’d say in her singsong voice.
She reminded me of an old-fashioned school marm. Fastidious in her clothing habits. Her hair scooped up on top of her head and secured there. She had a dignified bearing to her. Until you saw her with the glass in hand. And you would notice a bit of a sway to her walk.
She was one of those sorts that would try every herbal remedy, but would not take medication the doctor gave her. I have nothing whatsoever against herbal remedies, mind you. But I would tell her again and again, “M, they aren’t FDA regulated.” She would press her lips together in that nervous way she had, and I could tell nothing I said would make any difference.
She and her husband were retired. They went out to eat most days at lunchtime.
“I’m so lonely,” she would say off-handedly, as if she was merely commenting on the weather.
When are people going to understand that there is no need to suffer, when there are medications that could help save them? Why must women feel guilty if they feel anxiety and depression? So guilty that they don’t see someone for treatment?
Women just like her suffer, and there is help out there. Depression is a serious and pervasive mood disorder. It causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. (This I’m garnering from the WebMD website, mind you.) It can be mild to moderate… (Yes, I sound like the TV commercial, but please don’t tune me out while you grab the chips if this remotely sounds like someone you know.)
…With symptoms of apathy, little appetite, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem and low-grade fatigue. Or it can be major depression, with symptoms of depressed mood most of the day, diminished interest in daily activities, weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia (over sleeping), fatigue, feelings of guilt almost daily, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
This often leads to persistent disorders that do not respond to treatment. Such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.
Did you know that at least two-thirds of women do not get the help they need? As many as one out of every four women is likely to experience an episode of major depression at some point in life.
My neighbor spent weeks in the hospital hooked up to machines and tubes sustaining her. But to me, her life ended bleakly on that wet cement floor in her garage, of all damned places, with the rain sweeping in on top of her. She had had too much to drink. She medicated herself in the easiest and most socially acceptable way possible. There is a fine line she crossed one day from partaking of alcohol during a social activity, to turning to a bottle in an attempt to assuage her feelings of emptiness and anxiousness.
She…did…not…have…to…die…alone. And in essence, that’s what happened. Depending on when you want to say death actually occurred. And I belief this death, in many ways, happened long before she caught a staph infection in the hospital while being treated for a brain injury. I believe she was swept away in a current of depression, and turned to alcohol for relief, long before she was found that night. Sadly, having wandered out in the rain to see the moon that somehow, even in her current state, still beckoned to her.