Depression Hurts

Today was depressing. I felt it coming on slowly for the past few days… it finally came to a head.

Yesterday I hurt my knee. Twice, in a 24 hour period I slammed my kneecap by accident into two different door frames. It hurt so much it took my breath away. You know that feeling??? You can’t inhale because your lungs are frozen?

Rolling on the floor holding my knee in both hands, muttering “shit, shit, shit”, with tears streaming down my face as the dog licked them was the highlight of my day. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. At that particular moment I didn’t care how ridiculous I looked… I HURT!!! It took a solid 10 minutes to pull myself across the floor and on to my bed. I felt like I climbed Mt. Everest!!

Slowly I pulled my pant leg up to inspect my knee. Ouch! The swelling had already started, and a bruise was forming… right next to the one I got a few hours before. I pulled the thin layer of ripped up skin off to get a better look. Hmmm… I wonder… can a knee cap crack???

Common sense and all my years of raising three kids tell me I need to take care of this. Ice… I need to get ice for the swelling. BUT the ice is downstairs… and I’m upstairs. No one is with me, I live alone. I begin to cry for real this time. Depression rears its ugly head. My chest begins to hurt… like something is stuck in the middle of it every time I take a breath. The stabbing pain in the middle of my back causes me to shift my weight on the bed… which causes me to wince from the knee pain… which causes more tears… then sobs.

I am lonely. I hate being alone… especially when hurt. The tears are flowing freely now. I am having a Pity Party for One. If my mind was clear I would have called someone to help. My brother lives a little bit north and wouldn’t mind coming if I called. Heck, my neighbors would be here in a flash too… all I have to do is call.

I don’t call any one. Not for a swelling knee. That’s not emergency enough. If I broke my ankle I would call… but not for my knee. Besides I am embarrassed I am crying like a baby. No… I will handle this all by myself.

Taking a deep breath I get off the bed and GINGERLY test my weight on the knee. Hmmmm… not too bad. Not good, but not as bad as I thought. Carefully I sit down on my butt and bump down the steps one at a time. In the kitchen I reach into the cabinet for some Advil, swigging some water to wash them down. Grabbing some ice and a towel I start to head upstairs. WAIT… if I’m smart (which I am sometimes) I would make a PB&J and take it upstairs for later. That would save me a trip back down when I get hungry for dinner.

Back upstairs I settle in for the rest of the night… and cry some more.

The morning light shines on my face at 7:00AM as usual. My eyes are soft and swollen. Stretching my muscles wakes my brain reminding it that I’m injured. UGH! So sore!!!

All in all my knee was much better than I imagined it would be. Swelling was down, bruise was darker, but it didn’t hurt near as much as the night before. I’m guessing I didn’t do any major damage, and decide to ‘lay low’ for the day to let it heal faster. That’s when the real depression kicked in.

Sobbing, sobbing, and more sobbing. I just couldn’t stop. I have so much to do at the house to get ready for out of town guests arriving the day after I return home from my daughter’s wedding in Florida this upcoming week. Everything for the wedding is done… except packing… and some food shopping. Oh… and getting my nails done, picking up my son’s suit from the tailor, buying a hand steamer for the dress, painting the ceiling and new wood work, cleaning my horrible bedroom, and so much more!! Waaaah! The pain in my chest has moved to my lower back and smack between my shoulder blades.

Taking deep , slow breaths and thinking happy thoughts usually get me out of this ‘funk’… so I give it a try. OK… it’s working. I’m gazing out my bedroom window at the lake. Ah… calming. Geese squawk by, herons take flight, and seagulls circle… then an un-wanted person walks past my window. My heart tightens, the bottom falls out of my stomach as my ex-boyfriend’s new heart throb not only walks past my house, but she is LOOKING at my house as she goes. ACK!!! Doesn’t she have a clue that the mere sight of her upsets me? Does she not think I am human… that I don’t have feelings? I was dumped so he could date her. Personally I have nothing against her… I am sure she is very nice… but does that mean I can’t live peacefully in my house? Seeing her reminds me he didn’t choose me, even though I chose him. My broken heart opens up and bleeds.

I begin to shake. My mind tells me I should go sit on my porch and wait until she returns and confront her. Instead a clearer head prevails, I get into my car and drive to the beach and sit on my favorite bench. Deep breaths of ocean air can cure anything. Waves crashing on the shore, the sun shining down on me. OK… this was a smart thing to do. I’m feeling better.

A young girl sitting on the next bench over and I start talking. It ends up she is having ‘issues’ with her current guy… so we end up talking for hours! We end the discussion realizing we both are looking for the same thing… a nice guy who loves us. After exchanging phone numbers we part ways. This is the second person I have become instant friends with while sitting on that same bench.

Back home I hobble up and down the driveway putting out as much trash for Bulk Pick Up as I can muster. There is so much more that has to be put at the curb… but I can’t handle it today. The construction debris will just have to wait until next month. It’s not what I wanted… but that’s all I can do for today. Hey… all I can do, is all I can do. I begin to cry again out of frustration at not getting done what I wanted.

Depression hurts… all over. My lower back is so sore I can’t stand up straight, and the pain in my stomach just won’t quit. Did any one get the license plate number of the Mack truck that ran me over??? That’s how bad I feel. Every joint is screaming at me. I decide to go to bed.

The radio is on, I’m relaxing… and crying… slowly… quietly. This too shall pass.

A lot of people take medication for this. I used to… however I found the side effects too difficult to work around. Besides… I am not depressed every day. My thinking is… Why take daily medication for something that happens sporadically??? Most of the time I can feel the doldrums coming and have learned to head them off at the pass. Sometimes I miss the signs… and other times I am blindsided… but I am successful most of the time.

Depression is a symptom of PTSD… which I had been diagnosed with a few years ago. It’s embarrassing to admit I have it. This is not a disease you can see on the outside.

Dating with PTSD is difficult too. Most guys run away once they hear I have PTSD. They are not familiar with it and therefore are afraid to be near me. No one will take the time to get to know me better and realize they only have to give me a little space for a day when I ask for it. Sadly I take it personally, thinking I am not worth the trouble to be put up with. Which then starts the depression cycle.

So… I have decided to not date. However… I WILL have burgers and fries with friends! Anytime!! And if by chance I have to cancel at the last minute, please don’t take it personally… just suggest another day.

This too shall pass… this too shall pass… this too shall pass. One day my prince charming will scoop me up and whisk me away to a castle in the woods where we will grow old together and I won’t have any more PTSD attacks. OK… reality check… I’ll settle for a nice guy and a winnebago (or boat) and we will live happily ever after exploring the USA… and I will be happy every day of my life. Hey, it could happen! I was close once… I just couldn’t reach the brass ring. Hopefully one day soon I will.

Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese… It’s a Jersey thing.


First stop... FRANK'S DELI in Asbury Park. YUM!

First stop… FRANK’S DELI in Asbury Park. YUM!

It would be UN-American to visit the Jersey Shore and not eat a Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese sandwich for breakfast. This sandwich is on every diner menu and in every mom and pop eatery across the state for a reason. It’s delicious!!! It’s New Jersey!!!

There are a few companies that cure and package the salty meat… however it isn’t TRUE Jersey goodness unless it comes from The Taylor Provisions Co located in Trenton, NJ. State Senator John Taylor concocted the secret recipe in the late 19th century… and it has been made the exact same way ever since. Rumor has it Pork Roll was cooked up and served as early as the Revolutionary War at The Battle of Trenton. I am not a history buff, but even I know that was a very long time ago!

I grew up at the Jersey Shore… and just assumed everyone knew what Pork Roll was. Imagine my surprise when my friend from Kentucky never heard of such a thing… and refused to try it even when I brought it all the way down there for him and fried it up in a pan. Good… More for me!!!

Recently on a trip to Arizona I spied Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese on a restaurant menu. I just HAD to order it and see if I felt I was transported back home. Nope… not quite. The Taylor Ham was sliced to perfection… not too thick, not too thin… and fried up right; it even had the edges sliced to prevent curling. The egg was fried correctly, not scrambled, with the yolk broken before a quick flip of the wrist browned the other side. The cheese was perfect too… 2 yellow slices from the deli counter. The problem was the roll.

Trust me when I tell you… this sandwich is all about the roll!!! In Jersey we call them ‘hard rolls’ and they MUST be dotted with poppy seeds. The inside should be light and airy while the outside maintain a thin perfect crust. A Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese sandwich is still tasty, but it’s not a JERSEY Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese without the right roll.

Taylor Ham? Pork Roll? Is there a difference? No. Pork Roll is the generic term, Taylor is a brand name. Originally The Taylor Provisions Company named their product Taylor Ham, yet the government got involved and stated it didn’t meet the requirements to be called ‘ham’. Since the product was originally sold in a roll covered in cotton (which is still available today) they changed the name to Pork Roll. Depending on which part of the state you grew up in… you either call it Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.

Living near Asbury Park, I can throw a stone and hit ten places to order a Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese sandwich. In my opinion… Frank’s Deli on Rt.71 in Asbury Park is the picture perfect Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich. It is exactly what everyone is looking for in this New Jersey celebrity. Danny’s Place on Sunset Rd in Wanamassa runs a close second. Danny slices the pork roll real thin and gives you plenty of it on a perfect roll with just the right amount of egg/cheese ratio. Brennan’s Delicatessen in Oakhurst on Monmouth Rd was good too, although the most expensive. You need to stray a bit from tradition at The Belmar Bagel Cafe located in Belmar Plaza in Belmar and enjoy your sandwich on one of their bagels instead of a roll.

Danny's Luncheonette... YUM! Notice the poppy seeded roll???

Danny’s Place… YUM! Notice the poppy seeded roll???

I paid as little as $3.25 and as high as $3.95 per sandwich… making this a very affordable food choice for those of us on a tight budget.

If you don’t live in New Jersey, you can order Pork Roll via the Internet from Jersey Pork Roll or Jersey Boy Pork Roll and have it delivered right to your door. To date I haven’t found any site that provides the perfect roll. Serving the sandwich on a Thomas’ English Muffin in a pinch isn’t all that bad. Give it a try! It’s the closest thing to an Egg McMuffin you will ever find.

A Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese sandwich and a steaming mug of strong coffee at breakfast is the best cure for a wild night at the shore.

It’s a Jersey thing 🙂

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